Daily Israel Report

Anne Frank House Donates Copies of Diary to Japan

Anne Frank House donates to Japanese libraries following the vandalism of hundreds of copies of Frank's diary.
By Elad Benari and AFP
First Publish: 3/9/2014, 4:32 AM

Anne Frank
Anne Frank
Reuters

The Anne Frank House, a museum dedicated to the Jewish girl who died in a Nazi concentration camp, on Saturday donated 3,400 copies of its catalogue to Japanese libraries after hundreds of copies of Anne Frank's diary were damaged, AFP reports.

The delegation from the museum in Amsterdam visited the office of Tokyo's Suginami ward, donating the catalogue showing its exhibits and a miniature of the Anne Frank House where her family hid during World War II.

The museum will donate 3,400 copies of the catalogue to libraries throughout Japan, a local official said, according to AFP.

More than 300 copies of the diary, or publications containing biographies of Anne Frank, Nazi persecution of Jews and related material have been torn at many public libraries in Japan, news of which sparked alarm amid a rightward shift in the country's politics.

Suginami ward found at least 121 damaged books at 11 of its 13 public libraries, the local office said.

Jan Erik Dubbelman, head of the museum's international department, handed the catalogue to Suginami mayor Ryo Tanaka.

"I also trust that by strengthening and expanding the friendship between Japan and the Anne Frank House and the people in Japan who strive for harmony, this incident will be soon forgotten," he said, according to AFP.

Tanaka said since the news was reported the ward had received dozens of related publications given by donors.

The Israeli embassy in Japan has also donated 300 copies of the diary to Tokyo libraries.

Anne Frank, a German Jew born in Frankfurt in 1929, documented her family's experiences hiding in concealed rooms during the German occupation of the Netherlands where they settled in 1933.

They were caught and sent to Nazi concentration camps. Anne and her sister died of typhus in 1945.

Largely homogenous Japan does not have a very big Jewish community, with the vast majority of people believing in an admixture of imported Buddhism and indigenous Shintoism.

Peleg Lewi, the Israeli embassy's deputy chief of mission, has said that the vandalism of the copies of Frank's diaries is uncharacteristic of Japan.

“Our first reaction actually was a little bit of a shock. Japan is so known in Israel ... as a pacifist and as a very secure country. So this kind of act really made a big impression on us," he said.

"But I think that everybody understood that it's a single act that does not represent Japanese people," Lewi emphasized.