Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House donates materials to libraries in Japan

AFP-JIJI

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

A delegation from the museum visited the Suginami Ward office in Tokyo to donate the catalogue and display its exhibits, including 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.

More than 300 copies of the diary, or publications containing biographies of Anne Frank, Nazi persecution of Jews and related material, have been defaced at many public libraries across Japan. The news 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 Dutch museum’s international department, personally 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.

Tanaka said that since the news was reported, the ward has received dozens of related publications from donors. The Israeli Embassy in Tokyo has also gifted 300 copies of the diary to libraries in the capital.

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 Frank and her sister died of typhus in 1945.

Her “Diary of a Young Girl” was added to the UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2009.

The vandalism spree comes amid criticism of a right-wing political shift under nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with a recent volley of provocative comments about Japan’s wartime past sparking accusations of historical revisionism by China and South Korea.