Vandals in Japan have damaged 265 copies of The Diary of Anne Frank. It appears to be a campaign to purposely destroy the books, as pages of the copies were ripped out and various libraries across Tokyo were attacked.
The diary was written by a young Jewish girl by the name of Anne Frank during the Second World War. She was living in hiding in Holland for the majority of the two year period that the diary was kept, and it includes all her struggles with life in the small living space, surrounded by family and people she never previously knew. She was just 15 when the hiding place was found—the family had been betrayed—and everyone was sent to various concentration camps. She died of typhus before the end of the war while in Bergen-Belsen camp. Only her father made it to the end of the war alive.
Recently, parents in Michigan complained that the book was pornographic and called for it to be banned in schools. One mother complained about passages from the “definitive” version, which was released after the original 1947 version and contains around 30 percent more content. Passages include Frank covering her own body and things that she had learned about it. The mother complained that the material was inappropriate for children to read, especially children at seventh-grade age.
The Kid’s Right to Read Project wanted to prevent the ban from happening. Spokespersons from the charity explained that the passages covered information that girls at seventh-grade level may have about their own bodies. It was argued that the book was highly relevant.
However, this has nothing to do with the recent attacks in Japan, where vandals have damaged more than 200 copies of book shared by Otto Frank, the Jewish girl’s father. The reason for damaging the books is currently unknown. The Holocaust has been denied by the Japanese in the past, who were allies to Nazi Germany during World War II, but there is no definite conclusion that this is why vandals have chosen to damage the copies.
Thirty-one libraries have been targeted in the attack, with one library choosing to move all remaining copies behind the counter for protection. Those who want to check out the book will have to ask staff. The books were damaged inside the reading rooms, and somehow vandals went unnoticed the whole time. Another library said that all books damaged would have appeared in a database search for “Anne Frank.”
After her father made it out of Auschwitz, he returned to Amsterdam. Some of those who had helped hide him and his family were still there and they handed him the diary of his daughter. It took two years to finally publish the book, but it has done everything he hoped. It spread the word of the Holocaust around the world. The house they hid in has since been opened as a museum, so people can really understand the quarters they lived in.
Police continue to investigate the destruction of the books across Tokyo. Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, said that the vandals had committed “shameful” acts and that the country would not tolerate them when he heard that Frank’s books had been damaged.
By Alexandria Ingham