Public Prosecution Service demands prison sentence and area ban due to discriminatory laser projection on Anne Frank House

The Netherlands Public Prosecution Service demanded that an unconditional prison sentence of six months be imposed on the 42-year-old man who is suspected of having projected discriminatory texts on Anne Frank House on 6 February 2023.  The man is also said to have made a discriminatory video with the use of a drone and to have spread those images via social media. In addition to the prison sentence, the Public Prosecutor demanded that the man be given a 5-year area ban for the municipality of Amsterdam.

On Monday evening 6 February 2023 at around 21.15 hours, an anti-Semitic text was projected on the façade of Anne Frank House. The projected text suggested that Anne Frank had invented the ballpoint pen, and refers to a narrative that is fairly common in far-right circles, but is absolutely incorrect, as it infers that Anne Frank could never have written her diary as it is written with the use of a ballpoint pen. This is absolutely untrue, read here for further information on the authenticity of the diary.

Property search

The police immediately set up a major criminal investigation, under the responsibility of the Public Prosecutor. On 25 April, the suspect was arrested in Poland based on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW). Upon searching his home, the police found the drone and the laser beamer he had used in Amsterdam. The man was released that same day, but arrested again on 8 July, this time in Germany, after he had left Poland without permission. On 25 August, the man was surrendered to the Netherlands. He is currently still detained for this case. The man, who has Polish and Canadian nationality, is currently living in Poland but has lived in the United States of America for a long time, where he played an active role in right-wing extremist circles.

The Public Prosecution Service suspects the man of coercion, group defamation of Jews and the publication of discriminatory texts and considers all these offences legally and convincingly proven. The Public Prosecution Service is certain that the suspect is the person responsible for the projection. The Public Prosecutor stated the following in his closing speech: “Anne Frank House was burdened by having the text on the façade, which text expresses contempt for Anne Frank, the world-famous Anne Frank House and for the diary. (-) People who happened to pass by the building that evening were forced to read that text.” 

Video intent on insulting Jews

The suspect travelled from Poland to the Netherlands with a laser beamer and drone for the purposes of doing the projection, filming and creating a discriminatory video of this and publishing it via social media. “These actions were, without a doubt, intended to present Anne Frank in bad light, and with her all Jews. (-) The video was intended as an insult to Jews”, said the Public Prosecutor in his closing speech. It goes beyond insulting, the texts also incite hatred against and discrimination of Jews.

The Public Prosecutor in his closing speech: “Besides coercion, the suspect is guilty of group defamation by also implying that Anne Frank did not personally write her dairy, that it is therefore false or forged and that, as a consequence, the Shoah never actually happened. The suspect also created an unacceptable, reprehensible and disgusting video about Jews, published it and distributed it widely. The Shoah was an exceptionally shocking event in the history of mankind and caused indescribable suffering to the victims and their surviving relatives. The Public Prosecution Service reproaches the suspect for the fact that he insults the person who did describe that suffering so compassionately. The suspect’s actions have severely infringed the rights held by all Jews and violated their honour and dignity in horrible way.”