What could be as tasteless as an Anne Frank Halloween costume? An Anne Frank train, say some in Germany. The state-owned Deutsche Bahn rail company is rolling out a new line of high-speed trains, and it came up with the seemingly innocuous plan of naming them after 25 historical figures. But Frank's name on the list is being attacked, with critics pointing out that a train took Frank to Auschwitz and to her eventual death in Bergen-Belsen in 1945. The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam acknowledged the "good intentions" that were likely behind the initiative but noted "this association is painful for people who experienced the deportations and leads to new pain for people who have to live with the consequences of persecution."
The Local reports the names were suggested by the public and that Frank's was among the most popular submissions, all of which were reviewed by a jury that included two historians among its members. The BBC has Deutsche Bahn's response via a rep, who says Frank symbolizes the "peaceful co-existence of different cultures, which is more important than ever in times such as this." The trains, which are due to begin operations in the next two years, will also bear the names of Ludwig van Beethoven, Marlene Dietrich, Karl Marx, a trio of German chancellors, and Nazi resisters Hans and Sophie Scholl, among others. (In a Nazi death camp, a mysterious link to Anne Frank.)