Only Anne Frank Memorial In America Defaced With Swastika Stickers
Police are conducting an investigation after the only Anne Frank memorial in the US was defaced with swastika stickers.
The memorial is located in Boise, Idaho, and maintained by the Wassmuth Centre for Human Rights (WCHR). However, it was recently vandalised with Nazi insignia.
Stickers with swastikas and the words ‘We are everywhere’ were found attached to Frank’s diary on the statue, with another said to represent the ‘spiral of injustice’.
The memorial is made up of a life-sized, bronze statue of Frank, showing her holding her diary behind her back as she peers out of a window in the secret annex where she and her family hid from the Nazis for a total of 761 days.
They were later found and sent to concentration camps. Frank’s diary, chronicling her life hiding from Nazis between 1942 and 1944, was published posthumously, going on to become one of the world’s most famous books and definitive accounts of the Holocaust.
Dan Prinzig, director of the WCHR, told USA Today: ‘It’s sad that this is becoming a statement of who and what our community is… is this what we’re becoming?’
He added, ‘What makes this event actually so sad was the blatancy where they were placed, how they were placed and the message they were proclaiming,’ AP News reports.
Frank’s memorial wasn’t the only site of vandalism. A photo of Bill Wassmuth, a former Catholic priest who fought against white supremacists and Idaho’s past neo-Nazi group, was also defaced with a sticker. Wassmuth passed away in 2002.
Prinzig described the defamation of the memorial as a ‘stab of the heart’, sparking an outcry in the local community. Following the vandalism, a number of people have requested that the director hold a physical vigil, while others have started fundraising efforts.
Unfortunately, the centre has been forced to deal with vandals before. In 2017, graffiti of anti-Semitic and racist slurs caused $20,000 in damage.
Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee called the vandalism ‘absolutely reprehensible’, confirming that his agency has since reached out to the Anti-Defamation League as part of its investigation.
Lee said: ‘It does cause us concern. We are committed to ferreting out… those who would foment hate in the community.’
Prinzig said the damage harms the ‘psyche of the community’, adding: ‘I think what we’re seeing, we have to take seriously — such acts aren’t just random. In the sticker, they are proclaiming that they are everywhere. We have to remind people that good people are everywhere, that good exists, and now is the time for good to come together.’
Echoing Eleanor Roosevelt’s words etched on the memorial, he continued: ‘Who are we and what [are we] doing to fight injustice? Where, after all, do human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.’
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