WASHINGTON — The funeral for Anne Frank, the Holocaust survivor and former Jewish schoolgirl who was murdered in Amsterdam in 1945, is being attended by hundreds of people on Friday at the Amsterdam Cathedral.
The large crowd of people, many wearing black armbands and hoodies, are expected to join hundreds of other mourners who arrived to pay their respects at the Cathedral on Wednesday.
The Cathedral was the scene of a mass grave that was sealed in 1954 when a bomb exploded there, killing Frank and wounding many others.
Anne Frank, who is believed to have died of bubonic plague, would have been 85 years old on Friday.
The Dutch authorities have been trying to get her body returned to the Netherlands for decades, but the process has been slow and expensive.
The mass was held at the same location in Amsterdam where Anne died, and it was the first time in decades that a large gathering of people were expected to pay respects to a young girl.
The Catholic Church in Amsterdam has been leading the efforts to return Anne’s body to the country, which was established in 1988 under the Netherlands-Belgium Free Trade Agreement.
But the Dutch government and the Dutch archdiocese have said they are unable to guarantee the safety of the body in the Netherlands, and the Netherlands has said it will not pay for the funeral or provide burial or burial-related services.
The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, the Netherlands’ oldest Jewish organization, says it has a history of taking on grave robbing, kidnapping and Holocaust denial and that it has been the target of anti-Semitic attacks for decades.
The center, which has offices in Amsterdam, was founded by Anne Frank’s mother, Maria Frank.
A woman holds a placard that reads “Anne Frank is dead,” at the entrance of the Amsterdam City Hall in Amsterdam on March 25, 2021.
“Anne Frank and her friends lived in a peaceful way.
There were no wars.
There was no persecution.
There is no discrimination,” said Anne Frank spokesman Jeroen Schouwen.