A German conservative MP, Iris Eberl, tweeted that it was a “tasteless” choice, as Anne Frank and other Jews had been sent by train to their deaths. But DB spokesperson Antje Neubauer said the girl was a symbol of tolerance.
Anne Frank also represented “peaceful co-existence of different cultures, which is more important than ever in times such as this”, she said.
The Diary of Anne Frank is a global bestseller, describing the Jewish girl’s life in hiding with her family in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam in World War Two. The Frank family were deported to Auschwitz death camp in 1944, and Anne died later in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15.
DB is state-owned and the successor of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, which deported millions of Jews and other victims of the Nazis.
Julian Reichelt, a journalist at the popular German daily Bild, tweeted: “Now DB is naming trains after victims of deportation by train, starting with Anne Frank.”
The names will adorn a new generation of DB’s ICE high-speed trains, set to go into service in the next two years.
Jury member Prof Gisela Mettele said there was “impressive diversity” in the many famous names suggested by the public. The ones selected, she said, “have one thing in common: they were curious about the world”.
Anne Frank and her family were sent by train to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in 1944 The 25 include some wartime dissidents who died resisting the Nazis: Hans and Sophie Scholl and the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
There are also former German chancellors Konrad Adenauer, Ludwig Erhard and Willy Brandt, as well as philosophers Hannah Arendt and Karl Marx.
ICE trains will also be named after novelist Thomas Mann, music maestro Ludwig van Beethoven and actress and singer Marlene Dietrich.
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