‘A stab to the heart’: Fury as America’s only Anne Frank memorial in Idaho defaced with swastika stickers
- Memorial to Anne Frank in Idaho was defaced with swastikas on Tuesday
- The memorial depicts a bronze statue of Frank, holding her diary
- It was vandalised with a swastika and the words: ‘We are everywhere’
- Police have launched an investigation into the incident
The only US memorial to Anne Frank has been defaced with swastika stickers, sparking fury.
The memorial depicts a bronze statue of Frank, holding her diary and peering out of the window of the small annex in which she hid from the Nazis with her family for 761 days.
Her family were captured in 1944 and deported to concentration camps, where Frank and her sister Margot both died.
The statue in in Boise, Idaho was vandalized with the Nazi insignia as well as the words ‘We are everywhere’.
The stickers were discovered Tuesday morning by a visitor to the memorial in downtown Boise.
The only US memorial to Anne Frank, left, has been defaced with swastika stickers. Another was stuck to a statue representing the ‘spiral of injustice’, right
Another was stuck to a statue representing the ‘spiral of injustice’, intended to show how hateful language can lead to discrimination, violence and attempts to eliminate disadvantaged groups.
Another was pasted over a photo showing the face of Bill Wassmuth, a Catholic priest from northern Idaho who left the priesthood to focus on fighting white supremacists and the Aryan Nations, a neo-Nazi group that at the time was based in northern Idaho. Wassmuth died in 2002.
Police have launched an investigation into the incident.
Authorities have also contacted the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that records anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S.
‘What makes this event actually so sad was the blatancy where they were placed, how they were placed and the message they were proclaiming,’ said Dan Prinzig, director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, which maintains the memorial.
‘Is this what we’re becoming?’
He referred to the memorials vandalization as a ‘stab in the heart’.
‘I think what we’re seeing, we have to take seriously — such acts aren’t just random,’ he said.
‘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.’
Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee described the incident as ‘absolutely reprehensible’. ‘It does cause us concern,’ he said.
‘We are committed to ferreting out … those who would foment hate in the community.’
In this photo provided by the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, swastika stickers that were placed on a display are seen at the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise, Idaho on Tuesday
The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights is now raising money to install a security system at the public memorial. This is the second time it has been vandalized since it was dedicated in 2002.
The first occurred over a series of days in 2017 when graffiti of anti-Semitic and racist slurs caused $20,000 in damage.
Prinzing said he’s had several people reach out, wanting to ‘stand in vigil’ at the memorial. That can’t happen right now, he said, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘We want people to stand up in their neighborhoods, in their places of work, in the schoolyard when they hear or witness injustice. Stand up there,’ he said.
The site is the only Anne Frank memorial in the United States, and is one of just a few places in the world where the entire text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is on permanent public display.
The story of Anne Frank
Anne Frank was a Jewish diarist who died during the Holocaust
Anne Frank was a Jewish diarist who died during the Holocaust after her family’s hiding place in a secret annex was uncovered.
Her family was forced to go into hiding in 1942 during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
On her thirteenth birthday, just before they went into hiding, Anne was presented with a diary. During the two years in hiding, Anne wrote about events in the Secret Annex, but also about her thoughts and emotions.
Her diary was published after her death.
The Diary of Anne Frank has sold more than 30 million copies and has been translated into 70 languages.
It has been included in lists of the best books of the 20th century while the Amsterdam building where Anne and seven others hid for two years draws over a million visitors each year.
Spending 1942 to 1944 hiding in an annex concealed behind a bookcase in the building where Anne’s father, Otto Frank worked, Anne wrote the daily diary.
In August 1944 the eight were arrested by the Gestapo and transported to concentration camps.
In October or November 1944, Anne and her sister, Margot, were transferred from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they died a few months later.
Anne’s father Otto was the only one of the people from the Secret Annex to survive the war after he was liberated from Auschwitz by the Russians.
After the war, Otto decided to publish his daughter’s diary.