Saturday 20 January 2018

'Posthumous baptism' for Anne Frank

Anne Frank hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam, Netherlands, during the Second World War
Anne Frank hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam, Netherlands, during the Second World War

A new claim has surfaced that the Mormon church has posthumously baptised a Holocaust victim, this time Anne Frank.

The allegations come just a week after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apologised when it was brought to light that the parents of Holocaust survivor and Jewish rights advocate Simon Wiesenthal were posthumously baptised by church members at temples in Arizona and Utah in late January.

Mormon researcher Helen Radkey, who revealed the Wiesenthal baptisms, said this week she found Anne's name in proxy baptism records dated February 18, showing the ritual was performed in the Santo Domingo Temple in the Dominican Republic.

The Mormon church almost immediately issued a statement, though it did not mention Anne by name. "The Church keeps its word and is absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism," the Salt Lake City-based church said.

"It is distressing when an individual wilfully violates the Church's policy and something that should be understood to be an offering based on love and respect becomes a source of contention."

Larry Bair, the president of the Mormon temple of Santo Domingo, said he had looked into the reports but was unable to verify that Anne had been baptised.

If it did occur, Mr Bair said, "it was a mistake".

Anne was a Jewish teenager forced into hiding in Amsterdam during the Holocaust and killed in a concentration camp. Her diary was published in 1947.

Mormons believe the baptism ritual allows deceased people a way to the afterlife but it offends members of many other religions.

Jews are particularly offended by an attempt to alter the religion of Holocaust victims, and the baptism of Holocaust survivors was supposed to have been barred by a 1995 agreement.

Press Association

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