Some people have come forward to help replace the copies of Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl” which were found destroyed, mysteriously, in several libraries across Tokyo. More than 300 copies of the book and other titles about the Holocaust had their pages ripped out in 38 libraries since January.
While authorities investigating the incident still remain clueless as to who the culprit may be, public libraries in Tokyo and even Yokohama have strengthened their security, with some even relocating books that may be targeted to shelves near check-out counters. Meanwhile, Jewish Community of Japan president Philip Rosenfield decried the acts of vandalism, but called for his members’ understanding that the incident “should not be taken as an indictment of Japan and Japanese society.” He also announced that they and the Israeli Embassy would be donating 300 copies of Anne Frank’s book to libraries in Tokyo as replacements for the ones destroyed.
On the other hand, Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library received two boxes containing 137 books about Anne Frank and her diary. The boxes came from a certain “Chiune Sugihara,” and were sent with a letter quoting an Old Testament verse, “Lift up thy hands towards him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.” Sugihara was a diplomat in Lithuania during the Second World War and was known to have helped Jews reach Japan by issuing them visas as they fled the Nazis. The government acknowledged his heroic deeds after he passed away. A library official who received the boxes said, “We believe this to be a goodwill gesture in response to recent incidents.” He also vowed to send some copies to other libraries who reported the vandalism.
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