‘Vulgar, offensive’: GOP candidate’s novel on Anne Frank a ‘wake-up call,’ says anti-missionary activist

Dr. Johnny Teague, a Texan pastor and fiction writer, has the famous teenage Holocaust victim embracing Christianity before dying in a concentration camp.

By Batya Jerenberg and Atara Beck, World Israel News

Dr. Johnny Teague, a pastor and Republican nominee for Congress, published a work of historical fiction that continues the autobiographical The Diary of Anne Frank, but his ending is shocking.

In what appears to be a missionizing message , the teenage victim accepts Christianity before dying in a Nazi concentration camp, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported in a review of Teague’s oeuvre.

The last words in the original autobiography are “Anne’s diary ends here.” In the 2020 novel, titled The Lost Diary of Anne Frank and published by Las Vegas-based Histria Books, the GOP candidate in Texas’ 7th District picks up the entries as if the Jewish teenager had taken her journal with her after she was captured with her family and the others hiding with them in Amsterdam in 1944.

The book “picks up where her original journey left off,” according to the promotional summary,” JTA notes.

Teague, who is the senior pastor of the Church at the Cross in west Houston, imagines diary entries by Frank about her experiences and thoughts in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. These include ruminations about Jesus and Christianity, with sentences such as, “I would love to learn more about Jesus and all He faced in His dear life as a Jewish teacher.”

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She eventually recites Christian prayers to her imaginary friend, and by the end she believes that “every Jewish man or woman should ask, ‘Where is the Messiah? … Did He come already, and we didn’t recognize Him?’”

Although Frank and her family were not religious Jews, nowhere in her original diary does she imply anyone having such thoughts. In Teague’s version, JTA explains, Frank’s father is also on the path to possible conversion. Not only does Otto Frank try to obtain a copy of the New Testament for his daughter, according to the evangelical pastor’s version, but Otto’s survival depends on his alleged interest in learning about Christianity.

Otto Frank, the only member of the family to escape death in the concentration camps, published his daughter’s journal in 1947 after encouragement from the friends who had kept the survivors alive while they hid for over two years in a secret annex of Frank’s business.

‘Assault on the legacy’ of collective Jewish memory

“It is very disturbing that this Texas Rep candidate would misappropriate not just a Jewish symbol, icon and liturgy – and that’s routine for the messianic movement – but to misappropriate a young woman who was murdered specifically because she was a Jew and not a Christian,” leading anti-missionary activist Rabbi Tovia Singer told World Israel News Tuesday in an interview.

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“The Jews of Amsterdam were almost completely annihilated because they were Jewish. This misappropriation is most deeply offensive,” he said.

“What candidate Johnny Teague has done is to misappropriate the legacy of Anne Frank, who perished, who was taken away, specifically because she was not of a Christian family. If she was of a Christian family, she would not have been harmed.

“That’s what’s so vulgar, so offensive, about this revisionism of history. Even though it appears in a novel, its point is to seize the imagination.

“Jewish people have willingly given their lives so as not to become Christians,” Singer continued.

“This is not just a misuse of a young girl who never grew up to love and to experience life as a Jew. This is an assault on the legacy of the collective memory of our people who perished so as not to become Christians,” he stated.

Singer describes “this type of literature casting Jews as converting to Christianity in the last breath” as “repulsive.”

Teague’s novel shows “who this Texas candidate is, how detached he is from reality and how unaware he is of how deeply offensive this type of book is to the Jewish people, whether it’s a work of fiction or not,” he said.

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Actually, “I think the fact that it’s a novel makes it even more disturbing. It’s not a story about Edith Stein, the Jewish woman who did convert to Catholicism. It’s their ability to connect with Anne Frank through her diary and through her home, which is a museum today, and then misappropriate. I think it’s a wake-up call.”

On Teague’s website, he calls himself “an American Christian” who believes in “God’s Word, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with our Bill of Rights.” While adopting traditional Republican views on abortion, crime reduction, the border crisis and a strong military, he also bemoans current ethical standards in the country.

In asking for support in the ballot box in next week’s elections, he writes, “Morality is eroding, as are our families, and our love of country…. What is wrong is now embraced as right and all are being pressured to accept it. We must take a stand now, in this election before it is too late.”

This is the second time Teague is running for Congress on the Republican ticket, having made an unsuccessful 2020 run in the ninth district, in the greater Houston area, just after his novel was published.