265 Anne Frank Books Vandalized in Tokyo Libraries

Friday, Feb 21, 2014  |  Updated 10:56 AM EDT
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Ripped pages of three books of Anne Frank's "Diary of Young Girl" are displayed at a library in Tokyo on February 21, 2014. Scores of copies of Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl" kept in public libraries across Tokyo have been vandalised, sparking alarm amid a rightward shift in Japan's politics.

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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.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called the vandalism "shameful" and said Japan would not tolerate such acts.

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.

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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