Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect

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Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect USA
Anne Frank Center logo.png
Named after Anne Frank
Purpose Social justice organization
Headquarters 1325 6th Ave., 28th floor
New York, NY 10019
Chief Executive Officer
Sharon R. Douglas[1]
Chair, Peter Rapaport
$698,611 (2014)[2]
Expenses $849,836 (2014)[2]
Formerly called
Anne Frank Center USA

The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect is a nonprofit organization with a focus on civil and human rights activism in the United States.[4][5][6]

The group's stated objective is to advocate "for the kinder and fairer world of which Anne Frank dreamed."[7] The Center connects the history of the Holocaust to contemporary struggles with racism, intolerance, and discrimination,[8] especially through the story of the Frank family in hiding at the Secret Annex during World War II. The Anne Frank Center provides educational workshops, performance education programs, and traveling exhibits throughout the United States,[7][9][10] often in conjunction with other civil rights advocacy institutions, like the United Nations.[11] Each year since 1996, the Center has also recognized the humanitarian work of students, teachers, scholars, authors, public figures, philanthropists, activists, and other community leaders through the annual Spirit of Anne Frank Awards program. In 2018 award recipients included comedic actress Amy Poehler and Meredith Walker of Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, Dr. Jud Newborn of the NY Museum of Jewish History, and Ivy Schamis,[12] a teacher from Parkland, Florida who witnessed two students shot to death during a Holocaust education class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018.

Mission & History[edit]

Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect preserves the legacy of the young diarist through education and arts programming, empowering people to be ambassadors of change. Across the U.S. and Canada, the AFC applies the lessons of the Holocaust and Anne's words to educate individuals and communities on the perils of intolerance and ways to counter prejudice. As Anne herself wrote, "... nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."[13]

The organization was originally known as the American Friends of the Anne Frank Center, and later the Anne Frank Center USA.[14] It is described by its chairman Peter Rapaport as neither a Jewish nor a Holocaust organization.[14] The predecessor organization, the Anne Frank Foundation, originated in New York City in 1959 and began as American Friends of the Anne Frank House, with Anne's father, Otto Frank, as the first President.[15] He sought to raise awareness of Anne's story and funding for the House in Amsterdam, which was opened to the public in 1960.

From 2011 to 2016 the center had a small public gallery in lower Manhattan.[16] In 2016, the board of directors[14] brought in Goldstein as executive director. At the same time, its name was changed to add "mutual respect," and its mission was changed to include an emphasis on “exposing and fighting hate.”[17][16]

The Center is neither just a Jewish organization nor a Holocaust organization.[14] While it speaks out against antisemitism, it also criticizes what it sees as sexism, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and other issues. It is headquartered in New York City and its former executive director was political activist Steven Goldstein,[5][14] known for his advocacy of LGBT rights as founder of Garden State Equality.[16]

The center received significant press attention in early 2017 due to its criticism of the Trump administration.[16][4][5][6][18][19] Following the presidential 2016 election, the Anne Frank Center has been described as "one of the loudest voices in the #resistance [sic] to Trump."[20]

Connection with Anne Frank and Otto Frank[edit]

According to the Center, it originated as an affiliate of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.[13] Both the House and the Anne Frank Fonds in Basel, Switzerland are among the Anne Frank Center's worldwide organizational partners.[21][22] It has claimed on its website that it was founded in 1959 with Anne's father Otto Frank as one of its founders.[13][15] That was mistakenly disputed by The Atlantic, which reported in an April 2017 profile of the group that past staffers and documentation indicate it was actually started in 1977, with no involvement by Otto Frank.[5][14] After the Atlantic article appeared, it claimed that a document from 1959 shows that Otto Frank gave permission to use of his name in fundraising literature for the Anne Frank Foundation Inc. in the United States and Amsterdam, and that he was listed as president of the Foundation.[23] Documents show official 501(c)(3) status as a not-for-profit organization in the United States was attained in 1977.[15]

The Center works with the Anne Frank House on bringing traveling exhibits[24][22] covering Anne's life and legacy through the United States and Canada, often incorporating contemporary issues outside of Antisemitism and The Holocaust.

Criticism of the Trump Administration[edit]

Past executive director Steven Goldstein has been vocally critical of the Donald Trump Administration.[4][14], claiming it has failed to counter anti-Semitism and for his policies concerning refugees and immigrants. In February 2017, after the administration condemned threats against Jewish institutions, Goldstein called Trump's "sudden acknowledgment" of anti-Semitism " a "Band-Aid on the cancer of anti-Semitism that has infected his own administration." [18]

Goldstein called for Sean Spicer's resignation after his comment that, unlike Bashar al-Assad, "Hitler didn't even sink to the level of using chemical weapons."[20] He called for Sebastian Gorka's resignation in response to allegations that the Order of Vitéz, of which Gorka is a member, is an anti-Semitic, Hungarian ultranationalist group.[19]


The Atlantic and the daily online Jewish news site Tablet Magazine criticized the Anne Frank Center for politicizing Anne Frank's legacy in its criticism of the Donald Trump administration.[14][20] The magazines said that the media has paid undue attention to the Center because of its use of Anne Frank's name, and The Atlantic said that by "politicizing Anne Frank" it may undermine her legacy.[14]

Abraham Foxman, former head of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that he believed Frank's name was abused and that "every time I read that he [Goldstein] says something under her banner, I feel uncomfortable.” Foxman was himself a hidden child during the Holocaust.[23][25]

In a Washington Post profile, Goldstein rejected accusations that he is politicizing Anne Frank and called her “one of the greatest feminist and social justice leaders in history.”[23]

Goldstein resigned from the Anne Frank Center in September 2017,[26] replaced by Lisa S. Hoffstein[27] then Sharon R. Douglas in 2018 as Chief Executive Officer.[28]


  1. ^ Retrieved 14 July 2018.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b "ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer: Anne Frank Center USA". Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  3. ^ Retrieved 14 July 2018.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ a b c Landler, Mark (2017-01-11). "Trump Under Fire for Invoking Nazis in Criticism of U.S. Intelligence". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ a b c d Taylor, Adam (2017-01-26). "A charity named after Anne Frank has become a fierce critic of Trump's plans for refugees". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2017-01-26.  (Original title: ".)
  6. ^ a b Abbey-Lambertz, Kate (2017-01-25). "Anne Frank Center: Trump 'Is Driving Our Nation Off A Moral Cliff'". The Huffington Post. 
  7. ^ a b Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect: About the Center, accessed on January 31, 2017.
  8. ^ Devitt, Lisa S. Hoffstein,Alexandra. "Anne Frank's Words Still Resonate Today". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2018-07-14. 
  9. ^ Arenstam, Julia (Jan 17, 2018). "Legacy of Anne Frank lives on at Terrebonne Main Library". The Daily Comet. Retrieved 14 July 2018. 
  10. ^ Della Costa, Anna Maria (Jan 1, 2018). "Anne Frank exhibit at Otis Library to offer powerful lesson". Norwich Bulletin. Retrieved 14 July 2018. 
  11. ^ "From Desperation to Inspiration: The 70th Anniversary of the Anne Frank Diary". UN Web TV: The United Nations Live & On Demand. 9 Nov 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2018. 
  12. ^ Carmona, Sergio. "Stoneman Douglas teacher receives Spirit of Anne Frank award". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2018-07-14. 
  13. ^ a b c "About Us - Mission". Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. Retrieved 14 July 2018. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i Green, Emma (2017-04-24). "Who Does the Anne Frank Center Represent?". The Atlantic. 
  15. ^ a b c "Founding documents" (PDF). Anne Frank Center. Retrieved 14 July 2018. 
  16. ^ a b c d Zax, Talya (23 February 2017). "Meet Trump's Latest Nemesis — Steven Goldstein From The Anne Frank Center". The Forward. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  17. ^ Respect, Anne Frank Center for Mutual. "Press release: The Anne Frank Center USA renames itself the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect and names civil rights leader Steven Goldstein as new Executive Director". Retrieved 2017-04-17. 
  18. ^ a b Krieg, Gregory (February 21, 2017). "Anne Frank Center: Anti-Semitism has 'infected' Trump administration". CNN. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  19. ^ a b Estepa, Jessica (March 16, 2017). "Organizations call for Sebastian Gorka's resignation for ties to far-right group". USA Today. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b c Leibovitz, Liel (2017-04-20). "How Anne Frank Was Astro-Turfed". Tablet Magazine. 
  21. ^ "Worldwide Partners". Retrieved 14 July 2018. 
  22. ^ a b "The international partners of the Anne Frank House". Retrieved 14 July 2018. 
  23. ^ a b c Selk, Avi (2 May 2017). "Meet the activist who calls Trump an anti-Semite using Anne Frank's name". Washington Post. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  24. ^ Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect: Traveling Exhibits, accessed on April 24, 2017.
  25. ^ "A face off between Anne Frank and Donald Trump". Retrieved 2017-04-28. 
  26. ^ Nathan-Kazis, Josh (14 September 2017). "Anne Frank Center Chief Abruptly Steps Down — Led Strident Anti-Trump Push". The Forward. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  27. ^ "Meet The Staff". Retrieved 13 November 2017. 
  28. ^ "annefrankusa | Meet Our Staff". annefrankusa. Retrieved 2018-07-14. 

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