Japanese police are investigating after dozens of copies of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl and scores of books about the young Holocaust victim were vandalised in Tokyo public libraries.
The damage was mostly in the form of dozens of ripped pages in the books. Librarians have counted at least 265 damaged books at 31 municipal libraries since the end of January.
Japan and Nazi Germany were allies in the Second World War, and though Holocaust denial has occurred in Japan at times, the motive for damaging the Anne Frank books is unclear. Police are investigating.
In the Nakano district libraries, the vandals apparently damaged the books while unnoticed inside reading rooms, according to city official Mitsujiro Ikeda.
“Books related to Ms Anne Frank are clearly targeted, and it’s happening across Tokyo,” he said. “It’s outrageous.”
At least one library has moved Anne Frank-related books behind the counter for protection, though they can still be checked out.
Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga called the vandalism “shameful” and said Japan would not tolerate such acts.
Anne Frank wrote her diary over the two years she and her family hid in a concealed apartment in Nazi-occupied Netherlands during the war. After her family was betrayed and deported, she died in a German concentration camp at age 15 in 1945.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human rights organisation, issued a statement calling the vandalism a hate campaign and urging authorities to help find those responsible.
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