A Florida high school removed a new and reportedly graphic version of Holocaust era ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ following concerns from school officials and parental rights groups about the book’s “minimization of the Holocaust” and inaccurate portrayal.
On Twitter, the official Moms for Liberty page outlined the reasons why parents and school board officials at Vero Beach High School in Indian River County decided to remove “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” by Ari Folman, stating that it violated Florida Law 6A-1.094124 (3)(b), which dictates that all teachings of the Holocaust must be historically correct. The organization noted that out of the several hundreds of versions that accurately highlight the tragedy of the Holocaust and the murder of the Jewish population because of antisemitism and hate, this was the only version removed because of its inappropriate nature for young children.
Moms for Liberty posted a statement to Twitter from David K. Moore, the Superintendent of Indian River County, to the Board Chair and Board Members, regarding the decision to remove the book from the curriculum.
“This book was removed due to the content being inconsistent with policy/state and was perceived to be a minimization of the events of the Holocaust,” Moore said in his email to the local school board.
At the end of his email, Moore noted that the original “Diary of Anne Frank” was still in circulation in the district and that he and other school officials met with the Community One Initiative, a local organization dedicated to Holocaust Education, who also shared similar concerns about the book and agreed with the decision to remove it.
According to officials who have read the book, the novel shows the protagonist walking in a park, mesmerized by female nude statues, and later proposing to a friend that they show each other their breasts.
Under the Florida school district’s policy, the principal decides on a challenged book. If an individual disagrees with a decision to keep the disputed book on the shelves, they can appeal to a districtwide committee.
Cristen Maddux, a spokeswoman for the Indian River County School District, stated that the graphic novel was checked out twice before school board officials reviewed it and decided to remove it from the district.
In a statement to media outlets, Moms for Liberty leader Jennifer Pippins noted that Folman’s graphic novel violated state standards to teach the Holocaust accurately, noting that the original Anne Frank Diary edited the “entries about sex.”
“Even the publisher of the book calls it a ‘biography,’ meaning it writes its own interpretive spin. It is not the actual work. It quotes the work, but it is not the diary in full. It chooses to offer a different view on the subject,” Pippins said.
Back in 2021, Folman directed a movie called “Where is Anne Frank,” which followed Kitty, Frank’s imaginary friend to whom the diary was dedicated to, coming to life to showcase Frank and her family’s life during the Holocaust and relating it to “modern-day forms of oppression.”
The trailer for the film sparked criticism online, with individuals like Joel M. Petlin, a Superintendent of the Kiryas Joel School District and contributor to Newsweek, calling on individuals to stop “re-imagining the Holocaust into something other than the mass genocide that it was.”
Others also pointed out the trivialization of the Holocaust in Folman’s movie, noting that the “modern-day oppression” the film tries to connect the Holocaust to is the deportation of illegal immigrants and refugees.