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Jacob Heilbrunn

Jacob Heilbrunn

Posted: January 29, 2010 01:59 PM

The Anniversary of Auschwitz's Liberation: Virginia Censors Anne Frank

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This is the 65th anniversary of the Red Army's liberation of Auschwitz, the complex of death camps located near Kracow that the Nazis used to murder European Jewry. Culpeper County public school officials have, according to today's Washington Post, decided to discontinue assigning Anne Frank's diary because a parent complained that the book "includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes." The director of instruction, one James Allen, says the book will no longer be used in classes, but retained in the library.

The problem, it seems, is that the 50th anniversary edition of the book contains passages that were not present in the original Dutch edition. The new version is fuller and does contain more details about Anne Frank's nascent sexual desires. But the school system has disgraced itself with this decision.

How can it expect students to behave in a courageous and moral fashion when it has abjectly crumpled before an obtuse parent? These kinds of stories are not entirely uncommon, of course, as censorship in the school system is a perennial issue. But that Virginia would go so far as to restrict access to Anne Frank's unexpurgated thoughts is another sign of what's amiss in America today. Censoring Anne Frank in the name of morality, after all, is an immoral act.