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Sunday 20 April 2014

Israel gives Japan Anne Frank books

Israeli Embassy official Peleg Lewi, left, shakes hands with Suginami Ward Mayor Ryo Tanaka as he hands over Anne Frank-related books (AP)

The Israeli Embassy is donating 300 Anne Frank-related books to Tokyo public libraries to replace those that have been vandalised.

Representatives from the embassy and Japan's Jewish community presented some of the books to the mayor of Tokyo's Suginami district at a news conference today.

More than 300 books related to Anne Frank, including copies of The Diary of a Young Girl, have been found damaged in Tokyo libraries. Suginami was particularly hard hit, with 121 books damaged. The donated books will be divided among Tokyo libraries.

The mayor of Suginami expressed hope that the incident could be turned into a lesson for Japanese who are not aware of the Holocaust.

"Through this incident, I believe that people also learned about the horrid facts of history and of racism, and with this knowledge, I hope that our people were given an opportunity to reflect on the preciousness of peace," Mayor Ryo Tanaka said.

Peleg Lewi, deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy, said he believes the vandalism was a single act that does not represent the feelings of the Japanese.

"The diary of Anne Frank represents to us a message of tolerance between people," he said. "We fully trust the Japanese authorities to bring those responsible for these cowardly acts to justice."

Police established a task force this week to investigate the case.

Frank wrote her diary during the two years her family hid from the Nazis during the Second World War. She was 15 when she died in a concentration camp in 1945. Her father survived and published the diary, which has become the most widely read document to emerge from the Holocaust.

Press Association

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