A Jewish employee of the Anne Frank House museum was told that he was not allowed to wear his kippa because it would conflict with the organisation’s “independent position” and might “influence” the message of combatting anti-Semitism.
Barry Vingerling, 25, said that he was told not the wear his yarmulke when he turned up for work at the museum dedicated to the life of the Jewish girl Anne Frank who died at a German concentration camp during World War Two, reports the New Israelite Weekly.
Mr. Vingerling did not wear the cap to the interview, but explained to his employers that it was very important for him to wear it when he began the job. He was told that he had to remove the kippa and must make a special request to wear the religious item to work.
For the first six weeks whilst working at the Amsterdam museum, Mr. Vingerling was allowed to wear a baseball cap, with his kippa underneath, whilst he awaited a decision on whether he was allowed to wear it in public during work hours.
“I have been suffering from it for months, but this is a fundamental moral issue for me,” the 25-year-old told the Dutch-language New Israelite Weekly, saying that he wanted to make the expression of his Jewish faith at the museum celebrating the life of the teen Jewish diarist.
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“I made a request in October and discussed it with the manager. Then I found out that the policy was not to show any beliefs in the workplace when you come into contact with the public.
“I was shocked because I was not aware of this. I did not expect it to be an issue. I work in the house of Anne Frank, who had to go into hiding because of her identity. In that same house should I hide my identity?”
Then in November, Mr. Vingerling defied his employers and after turning up to work visibly wearing the kippa; his employer told him that a decision would come soon and that until then he should continue to wear the baseball hat.
After a full six months, the young man was told last week that he was allowed to wear his kippa.
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Anne Frank Foundation managing director Garance Reus-Deelder told the Daily Mail that the length of the board’s deliberation was to determine whether “a religious expression would interfere with our independent position”.
“The Anne Frank Foundation is an independent organisation without religious ties. Those are directed at combating anti-Semitism. We did not want that, for example, a yarmulke would influence that message,” she added.
Anne Frank died at the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp in 1945; Sunday, April 15th, marks the 73rd anniversary of the camp’s liberation by British and Canadian forces.