Controversy over plan to name train after Anne Frank

A picture of Anne Frank in front of her memorial stone at the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

(CNN)Plans to name a high-speed train on Germany's national railway after Holocaust victim Anne Frank have come under fire because the Nazis used trains to transport Jews to concentration camps during World War II.

Frank's name appears on a shortlist of 25 famous Germans compiled by a jury, after Deutsche Bahn (DB) crowdsourced 19,400 suggestions from the public for its latest batch of trains.
Gisela Mettele, professor of gender history at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, and a member of the jury that helped make the decision, said: "As different as the chosen personalities are, they have one thing in common: they were curious about the world."

    Deportation to the camps

    Anne Frank spent two years in hiding with her parents, sister and another Jewish family in a secret alcove at the back of her father's office in Amsterdam, nicknamed "the Secret Annex."
    During her time in hiding, she documented the rise of the Nazi party and the persecution of Jews in the diary she called "Kitty," published posthumously as "Diary of a Young Girl."
    The German secret police arrested the occupants of the Annex in August 1944; they were sent by train to a transit camp in Westerbork, then on to Auschwitz. Anne and her sister were later sent to Bergen-Belsen, where they died in February 1945.
    May 1944:  Jews exit a German boxcar at Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.
    Deportees like the Franks were frequently made to purchase one-way tickets from Deutsche Reichsbahn, the state-owned German rail company, a precursor of Deutsche Bahn, which was in charge of managing the transportation of millions of Jews between the camps.
    Rosa de Winter-Levy, who was acquainted with the Franks in Auschwitz, recounted her journey to the camp: "After two days, we were exhausted. A man died, and there were old women, crying children, who couldn't take it anymore."

    'Misguided, but well-meaning'

    Barry Langford, associate dean of the Holocaust Research Institute at Royal Holloway University in London, said the plan to name a train after Frank was "well-intentioned, but misguided."
    "[It is] at worst a grotesque lapse of taste and historical judgment. Given the central role in the Holocaust of deportation trains operated by DB's direct predecessor, the association between Anne and the German railway can only ever be one of murder."
    German Conservative parliamentarian Iris Eberl tweeted: "To name a train 'Anne Frank' is disrespectful."