Society

Anne Frank Memorial Defaced With Slurs

| by Alex Scarr

The Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise, Idaho, was vandalized with anti-Semitic and racist slurs on May 9, resulting in over $20,000 worth of damage.

Executive director Dan Prinzing, who runs the neighboring Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, told the Idaho Statesman he could not repeat the tag that was written on the memorial because it was too offensive. The tag included anti-Semitic remarks and a message declaring that black people weren't human.

Another tag was scribbled on a marble tablet just below the engraved first paragraph of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Prinzing believes the tag's location was intentional. A group touring the memorial found the vandalism in the afternoon of May 9.

The Boise Police Department is preparing an investigation into the matter but has no known suspects at this time. The memorial does not have security cameras, something Prinzing says would contradict the message of the memorial.

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"Now what does that do for us? It emboldens us," Prinzing said. "It means our work is not done."

Vandalism in Jewish centers and cemeteries became a national issue in early 2017, as many feared anti-Semitism was on the rise. Bomb threats and other intimidation tactics were carried out against Jewish schools and centers in alarming numbers. More than 120 Jewish centers had received bomb threats by March 2017, according to CNN.

Cemeteries were also vandalized in New York, St. Louis and Philadelphia, as headstones were knocked over and monuments destroyed. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo promised at the time to open an investigation into the vandalism.

"Coming on the heels of two other similar attacks on Jewish cemeteries in other cities, it is that much more troubling, and we hope authorities can bring the perpetrators to justice and send a message that this kind of behavior is simply unacceptable," said Evan R. Bernstein, the Anti-Defamation League's New York director, in March 2017.

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The vandalism in Boise will require two marble slabs to be replaced at a price of $20,000. The slurs were written in permanent marker, which bled into the stone and rendered cleansing solutions ineffective.

"This act of unfathomable evil demonstrates how we, as a society, have not yet reached the world of Anne Frank's dreams," said Steven Goldstein, executive director of New York's Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in a release. "That's why our organization now focuses so strongly on contemporary injustice."

"It is on us, or Aleynu as we say in Hebrew, to take a stand for goodness in today's world just as Anne asked all of us to do in her diary. Never forget and never again, so help us God."

Sources: Idaho Statesman, CNN / Photo credit: Diesel Demon/Flickr

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