Music

So It Turns Out Anne Frank Would Indeed Have Been A Belieber

Her stepsister is 83-years-old, and wants you all to settle down. So does Michael Buble.

Everyone went a bit crazy earlier this week when Justin Bieber, on tour through Europe, decided to take some of his buds to the Anne Frank House, and wrote about himself in the guestbook: “Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.” Unsurprisingly, he copped it pretty hard.

Well, Eva Schloss — Anne Frank’s childhood friend, who later became her stepsister when her mother married Frank’s father — has given us all the what-for, via an interview with London’s Telegraph. “It’s so childish,” said the 83-year-old who should never have had to learn what a Bieber or a Belieber was in the first place, because she has absolutely been through enough already. “She probably would have been a fan. Why not? He’s a young man and she was a young girl, and she liked film stars and music. They make a lot of fuss about everything that is connected with Anne Frank.”

Eva Schloss is not amused.

Eva Schloss is not amused.

Schloss is not the first person to come out in support of Bieber. The Anne Frank House were conciliatory in their official statement: “He’s 19, it’s a strange life he’s living, it wasn’t very sensible but he didn’t mean bad…” Michael Buble weighed in too, for some reason: “I think, for what Justin Bieber has been through, he is remarkable. He has handled [fame] with dignity,” he told the Daily Star. (Which isn’t entirely true, what with all the clothes and the monkey and the spitting on people, but okay.) “I am a fan of the way he handles himself. They should give him a medal for smoking a joint. It made him human – he’s just a kid.”

Meanwhile, at the Cinema Society premiere of Mark Wahlberg’s new film Pain And Gain on Tuesday, captain of the Belieber society, 50 Cent, told Vulture, “She probably would have been [a belieber].” And Wahlberg himself — a buddy of the Biebs — recommended he step out of the spotlight for a while: “I think it’s best to put down the phone and Twitter and all that stuff, and just be a little more low-key right now. Because they’re watching every move he makes, everything he says, and less is more. Go take a vacation.”

Piers Morgan weighed in on Twitter, too:

piersmorgan

Also in Camp Justin is his guitarist and musical director, Dan Kanter. Kanter wrote a poignant and persuasive open letter to the dissenters, found for us via Hollywood Reporter. In it, he defends Bieber’s note, calling it “a heartfelt comment”. He says “To do as the media has done, is to distort, demean, and degrade his meaningful visit.” Read it in full below.

To anyone who was offended or has written critically on Justin’s message in the Anne Frank House guestbook,

As a proud and practicing Jewish person, this topic hits close to home. Therefore I feel it necessary to comment on these malicious media attacks against my boss and friend.

What Justin wrote in the Anne Frank House guestbook was not ignorant or disrespectful – it was in fact thoughtful and profound. Having grown up in a Jewish family in addition to attending Hebrew day school and Jewish summer camp, the Holocaust is a topic I have studied extensively. When conceptualizing the events of the Holocaust, it is common to imagine ourselves and our loved ones in the places where people were persecuted by the Nazis. This is to forge a personal connection with those who suffered — so that we remember, and of course so that it never happens again. When I was 14 years old and watched Schindler’s List for the first time, I imagined my own grandparents being taken away and killed because they were too old and weak to work. When I watched The Pianist, I imagined my own family being taken from our houses with little-to-no belongings.

Last month when we were in Poland, the March of The Living set up a trip for me to visit the Nazi concentration and death camps, Auschwitz and Birkenau. When there, my guide encouraged me to once again envision myself and my loved ones as if we were among those who were imprisoned, tortured, and killed. When I saw the room full of shoes, a pair of children’s shoes made me think of my brother. When I saw the room full of hair, strands of curly blonde hair made me think of my mother. When I stood in the blistering cold winter at the end of the train tracks in Birkenau – at the crossroads where families were broken apart — I imagined my own wife being torn from my arms. And when I stood in a gas chamber and saw hundreds of fingernail scratches strewn across the walls, I imagined myself, dying horrifically.

Anne Frank was 13 when she and her family went into hiding, and 16 when she died in a Nazi Concentration camp. Justin is 19 years old, only 3 years older than Anne was. Furthermore, everyday he meets hundreds of girls of the same age and performs for thousands more. The fact is: no one in the entire world has a stronger relationship with millions of teenage girls than Justin. Therefore, it only makes sense that he would connect with Anne this way. And when he learned that Anne was a fan of pop culture, his connection was that much greater. Justin wrote that he was inspired by Anne’s brave and ultimately tragic story. In the same way that Anne reminded me of my teenage cousin when I first visited the Anne Frank House in 2008, Justin thought of the millions of Beliebers he cares so much about — and Anne Frank definitely would have been one of them.

Justin is the busiest person I know. He did not have to visit the Anne Frank House, but he did, and was moved by his experience. We are taught to study, commemorate and remember the events of the Holocaust so that they never happen again (לעולם לא עוד). But now, when one of the most famous people in the world visits the Anne Frank House, and is inspired by his visit, you attack him instead of applaud him for drawing exposure to the story of Anne Frank and the Holocaust. Justin is a 19 year-old who wrote what was to him a heartfelt comment to mark this life experience. To do as the media has done, is to distort, demean, and degrade his meaningful visit.