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Anne Frank’s Diary destroyed in Japan

Jane AustenHundreds of copies of ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ authored by Anne Frank are said to have been destroyed in public libraries in Tokyo, Japan’s capital. Pages have been ripped off at least 265 books in 31 municipal libraries, officials say.

While a US Jewish rights group has requested for an investigation, the motive for the vandalism and those responsible for it have not yet been found. The destroyed books are said to have been discovered earlier this month and some libraries have removed copies of the diary off its shelves to protect them.

BBC correspondent from Tokyo, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports that for many Japanese the book forms the basis of their knowledge about the Jewish holocaust. He added that Japan has no history of Jewish settlement and no real history of anti-Semitism.

According to Japanese history expert Professor Rotem Kowner from Israel’s University of Haifa, Japan only comes in second behind the U.S. in terms of the number of copies of the book sold.

“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,” says Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights organization. The Center has expressed its shock and deep concern over the incident.

“I know from my many visits to Japan, how much Anne Frank is studied and revered by millions of Japanese. Only people imbued with bigotry and hatred would seek to destroy Anne’s historic words of courage, hope and love in the face of impending doom,” Rabbi Cooper added in a statement.

Anne Frank’s ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ was written during World War II when she and her family were hiding from the Nazis, and is a popular testimony about the Holocaust.

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