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Anne Frank Library Vandalism Suspect Arrested

Tokyo police nab man caught on tape ripping pages out of the book

Stephanie Butnick
March 13, 2014
Ripped pages of three books of Anne Frank's 'Diary of Young Girl' are displayed at a library in Tokyo on February 21, 2014. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

Ripped pages of three books of Anne Frank’s ‘Diary of Young Girl’ are displayed at a library in Tokyo on February 21, 2014. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

Tokyo police have arrested a man suspected in connection with last month’s wave of vandalism directed at copies of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl in libraries and bookstores across the city. Pages had been torn out in more than 200 copies of the Japanese translation of the book, a surprising development in a country that has so widely embraced both the story and the figure of Anne Frank.

JTA reports that police announced the arrest of what they described as an “unemployed man in his 30s” who admitted to involvement in the vandalism. The suspect was arrested in a Tokyo bookstore for unrelated reasons, and was quickly connected to the vandalism.

Footage from the store’s security cameras reportedly show the same man wandering back and forth inside the same bookstore through sections dealing with the Holocaust in the Ikebukuro district in February, including the day that some of the damage occurred.

It’s not clear whether the police are still looking for other vandals. In any case, the damaged books have been replaced with the help of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which last week donated 3,400 new copies of the book.

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

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