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Mormon group may have baptized Frank

Church looks into report

Associated Press/File

Anne Frank was a Jewish teenager who hid from the Nazis. Her diary was published after she died in a concentration camp.

SALT LAKE CITY - A new allegation has surfaced that the Mormon church has posthumously baptized a Holocaust victim, this time Anne Frank.

The allegations come just a week after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apologized when it was brought to light that the parents of Holocaust survivor and Jewish rights advocate Simon Wiesenthal were posthumously baptized by church members at temples in Arizona and Utah in late January.

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Helen Radkey, a former Mormon who revealed the Wiesenthal baptisms, said she found Frank’s name in proxy baptism records dated Feb. 18, showing the ritual was performed in the Santo Domingo Temple in the Dominican Republic.

The Mormon church issued a statement, though it didn’t mention Frank by name.

“The Church keeps its word and is absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism,’’ the Salt Lake City-based church said. “It is distressing when an individual willfully violates the Church’s policy and something that should be understood to be an offering based on love and respect becomes a source of contention.’’

Church officials did not return telephone calls and e-mails yesterday. A spokeswoman for the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam declined to comment.

Larry Bair, the president of the Mormon temple of Santo Domingo, said he had looked into the reports but was unable to verify that Frank had been baptized.

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If it did occur, Bair said, “it was a mistake.’’

Frank was a Jewish teenager forced into hiding in Amsterdam during the Holocaust. She died in a Nazi concentration camp. Her diary was published in 1947.

Mormons believe the ritual allows deceased people a way to the afterlife, but it offends members of many other religions.

Jews are particularly offended by an attempt to alter the religion of Holocaust victims, and the baptism of Holocaust survivors was supposed to have been barred by a 1995 agreement.

The church said it takes “a good deal of deception and manipulation to get an improper submission through.’’

“No system is foolproof in preventing the handful of individuals who are determined to falsify submissions,’’ the church said in its statement. It added that other church disciplinary action would be considered.

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