News / Asia

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

A ripped copy of Anne Frank's
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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More