(JTA) – The Republican candidate for Congress in Texas’ 7th District is a self-proclaimed history buff, but his view of Anne Frank isn’t one most historians would endorse.
Johnny Teague, an evangelical pastor and business owner who won the district primary in March, published in 2020 “The Lost Diary of Anne Frank,” a novel imagining the famous Jewish Holocaust victim’s final days in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen when she could have written them in her diary.
The Kicker: In Teague’s account, Frank appears to embrace Christianity just before she was murdered by the Nazis.
Published by Las Vegas-based publisher Histria Books, the speculative book attempts to faithfully extend the writing style of Frank’s “original” diary entries to his experiences in the camps: it “picks up where his initial journey stopped,” according to the promotion. summary. Teague claims to have interviewed Holocaust survivors and visited the Anne Frank House, several concentration camps and major Holocaust museums in Washington, DC and Israel as part of his research.
“I would like to know more about Jesus and all that he had to face in his dear life as a Jewish teacher,” Teague’s Anne Frank character wonders at one point, saying that her father had tried to get him a copy of the New Testament. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, who in real life survived the Holocaust, appears to have been spared a tragic fate in Teague’s account due to his interest in learning more about Jesus.
Later, Anne learns about Jesus in other ways, reciting Christian psalms and expressing sympathy for Jesus’ plight.
At the end of the book, Anne strongly believes that “every Jewish man or woman should ask” questions like “Where is the Messiah?” … Has he come before, and we didn’t recognize him?
Teague, who did not respond to a request for comment from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, also claims in his candidate biography that he “was affiliated with” the Association for Jewish Studies, the academic organization devoted to Jewish studies. Anne Frank de Teague’s book appears on an AJS 2021 list of books by its own members, under the author name “Johnny Mark Teague”. AJS did not return requests for comment.
The candidate’s main questions on his website include “Close the border,” “Eliminate property taxes,” and his belief that fossil fuels are divinely ordained: “If you believe in a Creator and everything is there for a purpose, then you have to realize that fossil fuels are no accident. In the very beginning of time God knew we would need automation and industry, so in His Wisdom He gave us the fuels we would need.
It is common for evangelical Christians to proselytize, including to Jews, and polls have indicated that nearly half of American adults believe the country should be “a Christian nation”. But the size and scope of Teague’s efforts to undermine Anne Frank Judaism in her book is unusual even in such circles.
The Houston-area district in which Teague is running has a Democratic incumbent. It was redrawn in 2020 but is still heavily favored to elect a Democrat.
This is the second time Teague has secured the Republican nomination for a congressional district in Texas. He previously ran in the state’s ninth district in 2020, where he won just 21% of the vote in the general election. The election took place two days after the publication of the “Lost Diary of Anne Frank”.