published Friday, February 21st, 2014

265 Anne Frank books vandalized in Tokyo libraries

  • photo
    A ripped copy of Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl" picture book is shown by Shinjuku City Library Director Kotaro Fujimaki at the library in Tokyo Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

TOKYO — Anne Frank's "The Diary of a Young Girl" and scores of books about the young Holocaust victim have been vandalized in Tokyo public libraries since earlier this year.

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 World War II, 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 Friday. "It's outrageous."

At another library, all the books that were damaged could have been found using the keywords "Anne Frank" in an online database.

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 World War II. After her family was betrayed and deported, she died in a German concentration camp at age 15 in 1945.

Her father survived and published her diary, which has become the most widely read document to emerge from the Holocaust.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a U.S.-based Jewish human rights organization, issued a statement calling the vandalism a hate campaign and urging authorities to step up efforts to find those responsible.

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