The Justin Bieber-Anne Frank firestorm that erupted out of a guestbook entry made by the teen star has polarized public and media opinion, and may well reignite after this latest defense of the singer.
Dan Kanter, 31, long-standing musical director on Bieber’s tours, including the Believe tour, has issued what could be considered the most powerful rebuttal yet to accusations that the 19-year-old’s note insulted Frank’s memory and the horrors of the Holocaust.
To recap, the singer wrote: “Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber,” following an after-hours Friday visit to the Amsterdam house, which is now a museum, where Frank, her family and others hid from the Nazis between July 1942 and August 4, 1944.
Eventually discovered and arrested, Anne died of Typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945. However, the diaries she wrote while in hiding were published by her surviving father, Otto, and have become one of the most enduring testaments to the atrocity of 6 million systematic murders.
In a Facebook message posted on April 15, Kanter, addressed “anyone who was offended or has written critically on Justin’s message in the Anne Frank House guestbook.” The entire message can be read here.
Kanter begins: “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 … so that it never happens again. When I was 14 [...] 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 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.”
Kanter went on to write:
“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.”
Finally, Kanter added:
“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 … But now, when one of the most famous people in the world visits the [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.”
Against usual form, little has been added by this writer in this instance, largely because Kanter’s words demonstrably speak for themselves.
For more information about Anne Frank click here.