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Hundreds of Anne Frank books discovered vandalized in Tokyo libraries

At least 265 copies of Anne Frank’s "Diary of a Young Girl," and other books related to the young World War II Holocaust victim, were discovered ripped and vandalized in libraries throughout Tokyo. The news of the vandalism, which began in Jan., was revealed to the media on Feb. 21 by Tokyo Libraries.

‘Books related to Ms. Anne Frank are clearly targeted, and it's happening across Tokyo.’  ~ Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga
Image: Pages 92–93 of Anne Frank original ‘The Diary of a Young Girl,’ displayed at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam / Heather Cowper, Flickr

Although no firm reason for the vandalism is evident, MSN reported that fears of an “anti-Semitic motive” could be at the root cause.

The vandalism appears to be limited to ripped pages in the books, discovered in approximately 31 libraries throughout Tokyo.

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 of Tokyo, officials say that the damage to the books went unnoticed, and occurred in the libraries’ reading rooms.

"Books related to Ms. Anne Frank are clearly targeted, and it's happening across Tokyo," Suga said Friday. "It's outrageous."

At least one of the Tokyo libraries has moved all Anne Frank-related texts to more secure areas; although patrons can still check the books out.

Anne Frank’s diary, “The Diary of a Young Girl,” was written by the 13-year-old while she was in hiding for two years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Frank and her family were discovered and arrested in 1944. The young writer eventually died at the tender age of 15 of typhus in a Nazi concentration camp.

Anne Frank’s father, the only known family survivor, “published her diary, which has become the most widely read document to emerge from the Holocaust.”

In a statement released by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the U.S.-based Jewish human rights organization called the vandalism of Frank’s books a “hate campaign” and want authorities to identify the responsible parties.

“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,” according to that statement.

For more on the vandalism of the Anne Frank books discovered in Tokyo, see the video accompanying this article.

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