CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Harvard Lampoon is apologizing after publishing a cartoon that sexualized Anne Frank.
Frank died at 15 in the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in 1945 before British soldiers liberated it. The posthumous publication of the young Jewish girl’s diary, which shed light on life under Nazi occupation, made her an important figure from the Holocaust.
“Gone before her time” began a recent cartoon caption in the Ivy League school’s humor magazine.
It went downhill from there – quickly: “Virtual aging technology shows us what Anne Frank would have looked like if she hadn’t died.”
Frank’s face was then placed over the image of a bikini-clad woman’s body.
“Add this to your list of reasons the Holocaust sucked,” the caption ends.
The cartoon drew immediate backlash, with the regional Anti-Defamation League saying it crossed the line from humor to anti-Semitism.
When Paulette Schuster’s roommate texted her a photo of the cartoon, the Harvard junior said she didn’t think it was real at first – it was too obscene.
“The sexualization of a child murdered in genocide is never something I thought would enter the pages of a humor magazine,” Schuster told CNN.
CNN reached out to The Harvard Lampoon to talk with the cartoon’s creator and to get more information about the publication’s review process but has not received a response.
However, the humor magazine’s editors are apologizing in a pop-up message on its website.
“We as individuals and we as an organization would like to apologize for our negligence in allowing this piece to be created for and printed in our latest issue,” they wrote. “We are sorry for any harm we have caused.”
They promised to restructure their review process to “prevent the publication of content like this.”
In a statement to CNN, ADL New England Regional Director Robert Trestan said, “We appreciate their apology and acceptance of responsibility for the impact that the imagery caused.
“Media outlets have an obligation to have measures in place which keep anti-Semitism off of their platforms.”