Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Anne Frank Books Vandalized in Tokyo

More than 200 copies were damaged across 31 libraries

By: Graham Sigurdson & Daniel Koren

Published: February 21st, 2014 in News » World

Anne Frank Books Vandalized in Tokyo

Some 265 copies of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, and multiple other books about her, have been reported damaged and vandalized across 31 municipal libraries in Tokyo.

Approximately ten to twenty pages from Frank’s diary, including biographies about her, and the persecution of Jews at the hand of the Nazis, were torn out at three libraries in the Shinjuku ward, reported archives director Kaori Shiba to the AFP. The vandalists rendered the books ‘unusable.’

In addition, 119 books were damaged at 11 of 13 public libraries in the Suginami area, states deputy director Toshihiro Obayashi. “Each and every book, which comes up under the index of Anne Frank, has been damaged at our library,” he said.

Other library officials added that all the books may have been found using the keyword “Anne Frank” in an online database.

“We have complaints from five of (Tokyo’s 23) wards so far but I don’t yet know exactly how many libraries are affected,” Satomi Murata, head of Tokyo’s public libraries council, said to the AFP. “We don’t know why this happened or who did it.”

The motives being unclear, the police have launched a full-on investigation. As such, at least one library moved all of their Anne Frank related books behind the counter for protection.

“The Anne Frank House is shocked that pages have been torn out of over 200 copies of Anne Frank’s Diary in libraries across Tokyo,” stated Ronald Leopold, the executive director of the Amsterdam-based museum. “We are very keen to know the reasons why this is happening and what the culprits hope to achieve by such destructive action. In Japan, countless people are interested in the history of Anne Frank and her diary. Every year tens of thousands of Japanese visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the place where Anne Frank was hiding and where she wrote her diary during the second world war.”

Associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, remarked that “the geographic scope of these incidents strongly suggest an organised effort to denigrate the memory of the most famous of the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis in the second world war Holocaust.”

“I know from my many visits to Japan how much Anne Frank is studied and revered by millions of Japanese. Only people imbued with bigotry and hatred would seek to destroy Anne’s historic words of courage, hope and love in the face of impending doom,” he added. “We are calling on Japanese authorities to step up efforts to identify and deal with the perpetrators of this hate campaign.”

Anne Frank’s The Diary of A Young Girl is one of the most widely read books about the Holocaust. Frank died weeks before the Holocaust ended, along with every other member of her family but her father, Otto. Otto would go on and publish the now famous diary.

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