Photo: AP
Vandalized copies of the Diary of Anne Frank in Tokyo
Photo: AP

Tokyo police arrest suspect in Anne Frank Diary vandalism

Security footage from bookstore shows man acting suspiciously near a spot where damaged books were later found.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested an unemployed man in his 30s on Wednesday who is suspected of vandalizing hundreds of copies of the diary of Anne Frank in a major book store in Toshima, Tokyo, MSN Sankei News reported.


The man, who was arrested on suspicion of unlawful entry to a book store, is also suspected of vandalizing 310 other books.


He admitted to some degree of involvement in the vandalism incidents attributed to him, police said in a statement.


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.


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


(Photo: AP)
(Photo: AP)


The Anne Frank House, the Israeli embassy in Japan and other donors have given thousands of copies of The Diary of Anne Frank and related publications to Japanese libraries to replace the damaged books.


After reviewing security footage from the Ikebukuro branch of popular bookstore chain Junkudo from February 21, police noticed a man behaving suspiciously near two damaged copies of The Diary of Anne Frank, the report said.


The man was also spotted in security footage from a week earlier, in which he is seen moving back and forth between sections of several different floors, where books on the Holocaust are kept. Damaged books were found in each of these sections, according to the report.


Police say the man does not appear to have any particular ideological agenda, but appears to be mentally unstable.


Investigators were now trying to link him to 300 other cases of book vandalism in libraries and bookstores in the western part of Tokyo.


Police confiscated the suspect's computer and mobile phone in the hopes of finding search results of locations of libraries and stores targeted. Security footage of the other locations is also being reviewed to see if the suspect was present when the books were defaced.


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.


Anne's "Diary of a Young Girl" was added to the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization's Memory of the World Register in 2009.


AFP contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 03.13.14, 19:16
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