Skip to main content

Pages torn from scores of copies of Anne Frank's diary in Tokyo libraries

By Jethro Mullen and Yoko Wakatsuki, CNN
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 1047 GMT (1847 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Libraries in Tokyo report vandalism targeting copies of famous Holocaust account
  • Local media say at least 265 copies of the book have been damaged since January
  • Calling the situation "shameful," the Japanese government says police will investigate
  • A U.S.-based Jewish group calls the vandalism a "hate campaign"

Tokyo (CNN) -- Scores of copies of Anne Frank's diary and other books covering the Holocaust held by public libraries across Tokyo have been vandalized, local government officials said Friday.

Pages have been torn out of at least 167 books -- most of them versions of "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" -- said authorities in the Suginami and Nakano wards of Tokyo.

Here's what Bieber wrote at Frank house

The diary, which has been read by millions of people around the world, is a Jewish girl's account of hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II.

Local media in Japan have reported that the recent spate of vandalism of the book in Tokyo is more widespread than the just Suginami and Nakano.

Damage to at least 265 copies of Anne Frank's diary has been discovered at 31 libraries since January, the Kyodo news agency reported.

The reports have stoked concern beyond Japan.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights organization, expressed "shock" at the news.

"The geographic scope of these incidents strongly suggest an organized effort to denigrate the memory of the most famous of the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis in the World War II Holocaust," Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the center, said in a statement.

Anne and her family spent 25 months hiding in cramped quarters in Amsterdam, living in fear of discovery by the Nazis. They were betrayed, arrested and deported in August 1944. Anne died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp just weeks before it was liberated in 1945.

Cooper said the Simon Wiesenthal Center is "calling on Japanese authorities to step up efforts to identify and deal with the perpetrators of this hate campaign."

The Japanese government said Friday that the police will fully investigate the matter, according to Kyodo.

"We cannot accept it," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference. "It's extremely regrettable and shameful."

Authorities in Suginami ward said pages had been torn from at least 119 books about Anne Frank, including her diary, in 11 public libraries. The first case of damage in the ward was reported February 6.

In Nakano ward, authorities said 54 books from 5 libraries were found to have ripped pages. Most of the books are about Anne Frank, the ward said, but others are about the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Both wards said that so far they had been unable to identify the cause of the vandalism.

READ: Anne Frank's marbles to go on display in Rotterdam

READ: Justin Bieber hopes Anne Frank 'would have been a belieber'

CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki reported from Tokyo, and Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0500 GMT (1300 HKT)
China's Xi Jinping and India's Narendra Modi, leaders of the most populous nations face similar challenges. Can they learn from each other?
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 2236 GMT (0636 HKT)
The U.S. is not returning combat troops to Iraq, President Barack Obama insists.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 0038 GMT (0838 HKT)
A man abducted alongside killed U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff tells CNN that no one from the U.S. government has tried to talk with him.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1508 GMT (2308 HKT)
Mulatu Astatke is the founding father of ethio-jazz: a fusion of Ethiopian music with western jazz.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
Have you been to these? The global museum list, released Tuesday, ranks 25 of the world's best museums.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1703 GMT (0103 HKT)
iOS 8, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, comes with new features that you'll enjoy.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 0927 GMT (1727 HKT)
Psychedelic drugs are being researched as a potential treatment for conditions ranging from anxiety to tobacco and alcohol addiction.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0142 GMT (0942 HKT)
It's a surfer's paradise -- but Diah Rahayu is out on her own when it comes to professional women's wave-riding in Bali.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1620 GMT (0020 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT