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August 26, 1999, City Weekly, Frank Family Removed From LDS Records, by Christopher Smart

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August 26, 1999, City Weekly, Frank Family Removed From LDS Records, by Christopher Smart


Now you see them. Now you don’t.


For years, the names of Anne Frank and her family, most of whom died in the Holocaust, were listed among the dead souls baptized by members of the LDS church. Now, keeping to the agreement it signed with the American Association of Holocaust Survivors, the LDS church seems ready to remove those names from its baptismal database.


In 1995, the LDS church said it would cease proxy baptisms of Jews who died in concentration camps, and remove from its records the names of all those previously baptized.


The removal of the Frank family names followed City Weekly’s Aug. 19 story about LDS church critic and Universal Life Church Minister Helen Radkey, who discovered the LDS baptismal records for Hitler and Anne Frank. Suspecting the Frank family baptismal records violated the LDS church’s agreement with the American Association of Holocaust Survivors, City Weekly faxed the records to association founder Ernest Michel in New York City. Michel, in turn, contacted the LDS Family History Library.


“I wrote to [the Family History Library director] saying, ‘I have here in front of me the records for the Frank family, which surprised and embarrassed me. I was under the impression that these names had been removed,” Michel said. “I would appreciate knowing why this has happened.”


Last week, Michel got his reply. In a faxed letter, the LDS Family History Library said future records would not include the Frank family.


“I am pleased with the church’s response, and am satisfied that this was only an isolated case,” Michel said.


Radkey isn’t as confident. She believes the church deletes certain records only when they become an embarrassment. According to church baptismal records she’s obtained over the years, many prominent names of the Third Reich have been deleted.


In the spring of 1994, she printed out a whole list of baptisms performed for Hitler’s top brass. Adolph Eichman, head of the Gestapo’s department of Jewish affairs, was baptized in September 1991 at the Jordan River Temple. Hitler’s minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels was baptized in January 1990 in Santiago. Heinrich Himmler, head of the Waffen S.S. and overseer of the Reich’s concentration camps, was baptized in May 1990 at the Salt Lake City Temple. Rudolph Hess and Herman Goering were also baptized. Currently, those records are nowhere to be found in the LDS church computer system.


Hitler baptismal records that Radkey accessed years ago are also gone. However, a category of church records called the “Ancestral File” still shows that Der Fürhrer was baptized.


"The church [tried to] delete a whole mess of files but failed to delete them all,” she says. “If that’s the case, then how can we be sure that all the names of Holocaust victims have been removed?"


The church’s media relations department sidestepped questions about Hitler. In a faxed statement, however, the Frank family did get attention: “If the department becomes aware of the names of Holocaust victims, its policy is to remove them as soon as possible. This was the case for the four members of the Anne Frank family,” it read. “The church is currently developing a technological means of filtering out names that are identified as fictitious or inappropriate.”



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