When a scandal began to brew around her use of Anne Frank as a stage name, a 25-year-old rapper from the Netherlands defended it as a tribute to the Holocaust victim.
“It’s not malicious,” the rapper, whose real name may be Anne van der Does, according to the GeenStijl news site, told the Het Parool daily in an interview published Wednesday, a week after the release of her debut single titled “Silence.”
The R-rated song is ostensibly about sex (see lines such as “If you come to me do it naked”) but it also contains the lines “Anne Frank is a bossy bitch” and “I stashed shit in the secret annex” — the latter a reference to both hard drugs and the hiding place where the teenage diarist stayed for two years during the Holocaust before the was discovered by the Nazis and murdered (the specific word for “secret annex” that she uses, “achterhuis,” is closely associated with the Anne Frank story in Holland).
Responding to criticism by the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam over her use of the name — the museum called it “insensitive” — she said that she chose it because it had just been her nickname since elementary school.
“I read her books then. She’s an inspiration, a role model for living in unbearable situations. I know we’re not living in wartime but the world isn’t peaceful either,” she said.
Het Parool framed the affair as one of many recent examples of perceived trivializations of the Anne Frank story.
But soon after the article was published, a Dutch watchdog called the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, showed that the performer has been tweeting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments for years. To CIDI, the rapper’s online footprint suggests her appropriation of the Anne Frank name is much more sinister than she says it is.
In March 2018, she wrote: “If Taylor Swift were Jewish, I’d gas her personally.” In July 2018, she wrote: “Ironic how a Jew lays wreaths to commemorate slavery,” an apparent reference to former deputy prime minister Lodewijk Asscher‘s commemoration of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade and a perpetuation of the common anti-Semitic view that blames Jews for it.
In 2014, she wrote about a slowdown in the extraction of gas in northern Holland: “There is a heaven for a Jew.”
This year, the artist seemed to dabble in Holocaust denial when she wrote: “Anne Frank died of typhus so she was never murdered.” On the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance day, she wrote: “A Jewish connotation [from my stage name] is very sensitive for you all but I hear nothing from you about what the Jews in 2019 are doing in Palestine.”
In May 2018, she posted on Twitter a song titled “Free Palestine” and wrote: “I’m Anne Frank and I just rapped about freeing Palestine. It can be done.”
The rapper also tweeted: “If I were alive during World War II, I’d let Jews hide at my place for sure” and ‘I have respect for the Jews because they’ve been oppressed forever.”
Hidde J. van Koningsveld, the head of the CiJo group, which is affiliated with CIDI, called the seemingly anti-Semitic tweets and the use of the name “disgusting.”
Later on Wednesday, the rapper said through a spokesperson that she “never meant to cause distress” and that she would be shortening her stage name to “Anne.”
“Silence” was included on the latest album by fellow performers Lange Frans and Deniz Caro, released last week. Lange Frans, one of the Netherlands’ best-known rappers, defended the female rapper’s use of Anne Frank’s name in Het Parool. The article did not reference the tweets unearthed by CIDI.
On Instagram, the artist known as Anne Frank calls herself “Anne Frankje,” or little Anne Frank — a diminutive form that in Dutch slang also means to lay low.
She shows “little empathy to the feelings of Holocaust survivors,” the Anne Frank House’s statement said.
After the interview’s publication, Anne restricted access to her social media profiles to authorized followers only. She declined to reply to journalists’ questions.