News / Asia

Japanese Authorities, Jewish Scholars Condemn Desecration of Anne Frank’s Diaries

A ripped copy of Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl" picture book is shown by Shinjuku City Library Director Kotaro Fujimaki at the library in Tokyo Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.
A ripped copy of Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl" picture book is shown by Shinjuku City Library Director Kotaro Fujimaki at the library in Tokyo Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.
Sarah Williams
Japanese authorities are looking for suspects responsible for defacing almost 300 copies of books by and about Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who’s famous Diary is considered one of the best-known testimonies about the Holocaust.

News of pages being torn from the books in 31 public libraries in Tokyo has left Jewish scholars shocked.    

“We know that there are scores of libraries and at least hundreds and maybe more copies of the diary of Anne Frank and other books that deal with Anne Frank, that have been vandalized, ripped apart, desecrated,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

Frank ’s Diary of a Young Girl  was written in World War Two by the Jewish teenager as she lived in hiding with her family in Amsterdam, then occupied by Nazi Germany.

The family was discovered and sent to concentration camps.  Anne died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen in 1945.  Her father Otto was the only member of the immediate family to survive the war.  He published Anne’s diary in 1947 and it has sold millions of copies, becoming a symbol of the Holocaust.

The Wiesenthal Center issued a statement expressing its concern about the book’s destruction in libraries in the Tokyo area.

“Obviously, you’re not talking about one or two incidents, you’re talking about a wide geographic location, and we’re talking about some sort of organized effort,” Cooper said.

Cooper is a frequent visitor to Japan, and after the news of the vandalizing broke, he contacted a member of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s staff to air his organization’s concerns.

Cooper said the recent defacing campaign emerged earlier this month when Tokyo librarians noticed that numerous copies of the diary were damaged.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga condemned the destruction of the books.

Rotem Kowner, professor of Japanese history and culture at the University of Haifa in Israel, said Diary of a Young Girl has been popular in Japan since its publication there in 1952. 

“The popularity has not dwindled during all those years, I think by now more than five million copies have been sold, so this is probably one of the most popular books for youth in Japan throughout the postwar years,” Kowner said.

The development also comes at a time when tensions concerning atrocities committed by Japan during World War Two have risen, with critics in China and South Korea calling on Tokyo to do more to atone for its past.  

Abe recently visited the Yasukuni Shrine, a monument to the country’s war dead that also includes the remains of 14 convicted war criminals, an action that caused immediate condemnation from Bejing and Seoul.

“There is a huge internal debate and struggle within Japan, and of course across Asia, of coming to grips with what happened in the era of Imperial Japan and the atrocities that took place in Asia, and the current tensions between China and Japan,” Cooper said.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
February 26, 2014 9:11 PM
I think this incident has nothing to do with Abe's visit to Yasukuni shrine because destruction was disclosed to have been conducted before his visit in late last year. It is true Anne's diary has been very popular in Japan as it is shown in school textbooks.
I guess this crime was conducted by an individual suffering some psychiatric disorder. Defacing and ripping away manners are too childish to consider this issue as having some political background.

In Response

by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
February 27, 2014 9:51 AM
You may know the fundamental law: Inevitability involves contingency. Inevitability consists of contingencies. Japanese desecration of Anne Frank’s Diaries, this might be individual conservative contingency. How do You plead a range of conservative contingencies have occurred in Japan:

Abe worshiping WWII war criminals in the Yasukuni Shrine,Japanese government denying sex slaves in WWII.and denying Nanjing massacre.having territory conflicts with every neighbors .now destroying wwII history books…..MR.Yoshi,I want to ask you: why was Germeny accepted by his neighbor countries?why can’t Japan be accepted by the neighbor countries?

The linchpin is that hypocritic Japanese are lack of sincere desire.Japanese get use to saying one thing and doing another.
Don't play fraud with all people.


by: TAKESHI from: JAPAN
February 26, 2014 5:28 PM
People in the world often misunderstands that most of the Japanese are nationalist and supporting such a shameful doing.
Almost all the Japanese are disappointed this event and feel sorry to it.
But person tearing book isn't identified as Japanese yet.
We are more considering that tearing book doesn't make benefit to Japan and Japanese completery but nearby countries disliking Japan.
I hope all the people in the world gets to know there is a complicated situation.
Particuraly, to tell that such a worst doing are our Japanese's hope is completely wrong.
Japan doesn't have tendency to right wing on the whole.
It is a great pity for me that a part of Chinese and Korean say it's all Japanese will ! It's misleading world people. Please don't say such a terrible propaganda.


by: Jonathan huang from: canada
February 26, 2014 1:46 PM
worshiping wwii war criminals,
eating dolphins,
denying sex slaves in wwii
denying Nanjing massacre
having territory conflicts with every neighbors
now destroying wwii history books
So what is really in Japans mind?


by: Qing ChunHua
February 26, 2014 1:05 PM
"Japan Red Army" is the most famous anti-judea group in Japan and left-wing terrorist. please google "Lod Airport massacre" and "Japan Red Army".


by: Taichi Robinhood
February 25, 2014 6:51 PM
The international community should be alert to the Japanese militarism who will revenge the Americans for dropping two A-bombs to the Japanese during W W II.


by: shimpei from: NL
February 25, 2014 4:56 PM
no one cares

In Response

by: neznaika
February 26, 2014 3:51 PM
Notice, those who devides people by etnic groups considers their own group as the highest.
It seems to me, Japanese are peacefull people. Otherwise, it would be a disappointment.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid