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Anne Frank's diaries torn at Japanese libraries

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Tokyo: Over 250 copies of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl kept in public libraries across Tokyo have been vandalised, officials said.

Torn pages of Anne Frank’s Diary of Young Girl are displayed at a library in Tokyo. Pic/AFP
Torn pages of Anne Frank’s Diary of Young Girl are displayed at a library in Tokyo. Pic/AFP

Pages in at least 250 copies of the diary, or publications containing biographies on Anne Frank, Nazi persecution of Jews and related materials have been torn, the council of public libraries in the capital said. More than a dozen books have also been damaged at libraries in two other nearby areas.

“We have complaints from five of (Tokyo’s 23) wards so far but I don’t yet know exactly how many libraries are affected,” said Satomi Murata, the head of the council.

“We don’t know why this happened or who did it,” he added. “Each book had 10-20 pages torn out, leaving it unusable,” said Kaori Shiba, the archives director at the central library in Shinjuku ward, where 39 books were vandalised at three libraries.

Toshihiro Obayashi, deputy director of the central library in the Suginami area, said 119 books had been damaged at 11 of its 13 public libraries, adding nothing like this had ever happened before.

Several books with titles including the word Holocaust were among 41 books vandalised at nine libraries in Tokyo’s Nerima area.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the US-based international Jewish rights group, said on its website it was shocked and concerned. "I know from my many visits to Japan how much Anne Frank is studied and revered by millions of Japanese.

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,” said Abraham Cooper, the centre’s associate dean.

The Japanese government said that the police will fully investigate the matter. “We cannot accept it,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference. “It’s extremely regrettable and shameful.”

Who is Anne Frank?
Anne Frank, a German Jew born in Frankfurt in 1929, documented her family’s experiences hiding in concealed rooms during the German occupation of the Netherlands where they settled in 1933. They were caught and sent to Nazi concentration camps. Anne and her sister died of typhus in 1945. The diary was added to the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's Memory of the World Register in 2009.

Did you know?
The sales of the diary in Japan are second only to those in the US

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