ORLANDO, Fla. >> A high school along Florida’s Atlantic Coast has removed a graphic novel based on the diary of Anne Frank after a leader of a conservative advocacy group challenged it, claiming it minimized the Holocaust.
“Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” was removed from a library at Vero Beach High School after a leader of Moms for Liberty in Indian River County raised an objection. The school’s principal agreed with the objection, and the book was removed last month.
The book at one point shows the protagonist walking in a park, enchanted by female nude statues, and later proposing to a friend that they show each other their breasts.
Under the school district’s policy, the principal makes the decision on a challenged book. If someone disagrees with a decision to keep the disputed book on the shelves, it can be appealed to a districtwide committee. The Anne Frank graphic novel had been checked out twice before it was removed, Cristen Maddux, a spokeswoman for the School District of Indian River County, said today.
Vero Beach is located 105 miles southeast of Orlando.
Other books about Anne Frank and copies of the published diary she wrote chronicling her time hiding from the Nazis with her family and other Jews in German-occupied Amsterdam remain in the school systems’ libraries. The Jewish teenager’s diary was published in 1947, several years after she died in a concentration camp, and it has become a classic read by tens of millions of people around the world.
By law, Florida schools are required to teach about the Holocaust, and nothing has changed in that respect, Maddux said.
“The feedback that the Holocaust is being removed from the curriculum and students aren’t knowledgeable about what happened, that is not the case at all,” Maddux said. “It’s just a challenged book and the principal removed it.”
Besides the Anne Frank graphic novel, Moms for Liberty in Indian River County objected to three books in the “Assassination Classroom” series, and they also were removed.
Moms for Liberty leader Jennifer Pippin said the Anne Frank graphic novel violated state standards to teach the Holocaust accurately.
“Even her version featured the editing out of the entries about sex,” Pippin said, referring to the original diary. “Even the publisher of the book calls it a ‘biography,’ meaning, it writes its own interpretive spin. It’s not the actual work. It quotes the work, but it’s not the diary in full. It chooses to offer a different view on the subject.”
Published in 2018, the graphic novel was adapted from Anne Frank’s diary by Ari Folman, and David Polonsky provided the illustrations. Folman’s parents are Holocaust survivors.
When contacted by email, the book’s publisher, Pantheon Graphic Library, forwarded the inquiry to Yves Kugelmann, a board member of a foundation set up by Anne Frank’s father, Otto, devoted to distributing Anne Frank’s diary and other matters. Kugelmann didn’t immediately respond to questions.
The American Library Association reported last month that there were more than 1,200 demands to censor library books last year in the U.S., the highest number since the association began tracking more than 20 years ago.