Skip to main content

Israel donates hundreds of Anne Frank books to Tokyo libraries after vandalism

By Sophie Brown and Yoko Wakatsuki, CNN
updated 12:08 AM EST, Fri February 28, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An Israeli embassy official presents 300 Anne Frank books to Tokyo libraries
  • The libraries reported vandalism targeting copies of famous Holocaust account
  • Officials say at least 308 copies of the book have been damaged since January
  • Police are investigating the situation

Tokyo (CNN) -- The Israeli embassy and Jewish community in Japan are donating 300 Anne Frank-related books to public libraries in Tokyo after hundreds of copies of the girl's diary and other publications about the Holocaust were vandalized across the city.

Damage to at least 308 books has been discovered at 38 libraries since January, according to the Tokyo metropolitan government.

Most of them were versions of "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl." The book, 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.

"The reaction in Israel was of surprise, because our relations with Japan and Japanese people are so warm ... but I think everyone understands that it's a single act that doesn't represent Japanese people," said the embassy's deputy chief of mission, Peleg Lewi Thursday as he presented the first of the books to the mayor of Suginami ward, where much of the vandalism occurred.

Sympathy and goodwill

Here's what Bieber wrote at Frank house
Anne Frank mementos found in attic
Anne Frank's cousin publishes letters

The embassy decided to replace the damaged books after receiving an outpouring of sympathy and goodwill from the government and people of Japan -- including "a thousand" calls, mails and e-mails apologizing for the incident, a press officer at the embassy, Ronen Mezini told CNN.

"We are thankful for the thousands of positive and encouraging messages we've received from the Japanese people," Lewi said.

"The diaries of Anne Frank represent a message of tolerance between people, and awareness to the holocaust," he added.

Frank and her family spent 25 months hiding in cramped quarters in the Dutch city, living in fear of discovery by the occupying Nazis. But in August 1944, they were betrayed, arrested and eventually sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Frank and her sister Margot were then transferred to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they died during a typhus epidemic just weeks before it was liberated in 1945. Their mother, Edith, died at Auschwitz, leaving their father, Otto, as the only surviving member of the family.

Raise awareness

In Suginami, pages were torn from at least 119 books about Frank, including her diary, in 11 public libraries, according to authorities. The first case of damage in the ward was reported on February 6.

Suginami's mayor said Thursday he hoped the situation would help to raise awareness of the Holocaust among Japanese people.

"Through this incident, I believe that people also learned about the horrid facts of history and of racism, and with this knowledge, I hope that our people were given an opportunity to reflect on the preciousness of peace," said Mayor Roy Tanaka.

Police have launched an investigation into the incident.

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 Sophie Brown wrote from Hong Kong.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:21 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
The first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine has produced promising results, U.S. scientists said.
updated 9:15 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teen in August abandoned home after address made public.
updated 5:36 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
HBO -- backing a documentary based on "Going Clear," a book about Scientology and Hollywood -- isn't taking any chances with legal side.
updated 2:35 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Grandmaster Nguyen Van Chieu has devoted his adult life to spreading the word about Vietnames martial art, Vovinam.
updated 6:36 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
England cricketer Nick Compton shares insight into "drive and courage" it takes to face fears as top batsman.
updated 7:59 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
updated 8:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
updated 6:18 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
updated 5:43 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 12:03 PM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
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