Last week scores of copies of Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl and other Holocaust related books were severely vandalized at public libraries across the city of Tokyo, now Israel has offered to replace the damaged books.
Authorities in the Asian city said that pages were torn from hundreds of copies of the books, most of them the Anne Frank diary, which tells the story of the girl’s Jewish family and how they hid from the Nazi’s persecuting them in occupied Amsterdam during World War II.
Representatives of the Israeli Embassy in Tokyo and Japan’s Jewish community presented some of the books to the Suginami ward’s Mayor — where one of the incidents took place — at a news conference Thursday. Israel donated 300 copies of Anne Frank’s diary to replace those destroyed by vandals.
It was originally reported that about 167 were vandalized across the city’s public libraries, but the tally now stands at 300, with Suginami particularly hard hit, with 121 books related to Anne Frank effectively destroyed. The books donated by Israel will be divided among the Tokyo libraries affected.
Hundreds of Anne Frank books have been vandalized in Tokyo libraries since January. http://t.co/vnFLXIee7C pic.twitter.com/dIQtEQ7pMX
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) February 21, 2014
Many people today are not completely aware of just how devastating the Holocaust was to the Jewish community, as it becomes more distant in historic terms, but the mayor of Suginami said he hopes that the incident can be turned into a learning experience for Japanese who are not aware of it.
“The diary of Anne Frank represents to us a message of tolerance between people,” Peleg Lewi, deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy said. “We fully trust the Japanese authorities to bring those responsible for these cowardly acts to justice.”
Police has established a task force to investigate the damage to the Anne Frank diaries, which has reportedly been discovered starting in January.
News of the vandalism of Anne Frank books have stretched around the world and it’s causing concern in the Jewish community.
In the US, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization based in Los Angeles, expressed “shock” at the news, while adding that this is “an organized effort to denigrate the memory of the most famous of the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis.”
Anne Frank was only 13-years-old when her family went into hiding in Amsterdam, as the Nazis systematic persecution of Jews was at its height. She wrote her diary during a span of two-years until they were caught and she was sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she died of typhus in 1945, when she was 15.
Her father — the only survivor of his family — returned home after the war and recovered Anne Frank’s diary, which was published in 1947 and has become the most read personal account of the horrors of the Holocaust.