| AMSTERDAM, June 24
AMSTERDAM, June 24 A Dutch court may rule this
week whether some of the letters of Anne Frank, the Jewish girl
whose posthumously published diary about her time in hiding from
the Nazis made her a symbol of the Holocaust, should stay in
Amsterdam or be sent to Switzerland.
The letters - together with about 10,000 photographs and
other documents, but not the famous diary - are at the centre of
a long-running dispute between Anne Frank House, the Amsterdam
museum dedicated to her memory, and Anne Frank Fonds, the
Basel-based foundation set up by her father Otto.
At issue is where that archive material should be kept and,
more broadly, whether the story of Anne Frank is best told in
the museum dedicated to her memory or as part of a broader
historical context, for example by displaying some of the
documents at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt.
"We have a small museum so we can't display everything at
once, but it's important for us because it gives us a chance to
add more information to the history that we tell," said Teresien
da Silva, head of collections at Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
A spokeswoman for the court in Amsterdam said a judgment is
now scheduled for Wednesday, although a decision has already
been postponed a few times.
The Franks, originally from Germany, moved to Amsterdam
before World War Two. When Germany invaded the Netherlands, they
went into hiding in a secret annex behind the Prinsengracht
canal house where Anne's father had his office.
For two years, Anne, her sister Margot, mother Edith, father
Otto and four other Jews lived in the annex whose entrance was
hidden behind a sliding bookcase. They were looked after by
Otto's trusted employees but were eventually betrayed and sent
to concentration camps. Only Otto survived.
On returning to Amsterdam, he was given Anne's diary which
he published, reaching millions of young readers worldwide.
Today, Anne Frank House is one of Amsterdam's top tourist
On any day of the week, there are hundreds of people
queueing up to see where Anne hid, and the museum draws more
than one million visitors a year, generating annual revenue of
nearly 14 million euros ($18.39 million) which goes towards the
upkeep of the house, travelling exhibitions and educational
The Amsterdam museum archives contain photos, letters and
documents from the Frank family and from the Frank-Elias family
of Anne's cousin, Buddy Elias.
Buddy Elias is president of Anne Frank Fonds. The decision
to lend the Frank-Elias archive to the Anne Frank Museum from
the foundation in 2007 was a joint decision made so that the
museum could make a complete inventory of all the documents
related to Anne's life.
The foundation has subsequently decided it wants its archive
back and went to court in Amsterdam seeking the return of the
Frank-Elias family archive, including some documents whose
ownership is contested by the foundation and the museum.
Because of the history of how the letters and documents were
collected from various family members, it is difficult to decide
ownership of some of Anne's letters, according to da Silva.
"Now the judges are researching who owns what," she said.
Yves Kugelmann, a spokesman for the foundation, told Reuters
it was up to the court to decide on the archive's fate.
"At the end of the day it's also about how you deal with
victims and remembering stories. We are not commercialising it.
Anne Frank House is a commercial enterprise. It's like a
($1 = 0.7612 euros)
(Reporting by Sara Webb, editing by Paul Casciato)