Police in Idaho Investigating Vandalism of Anne Frank Statue With Nazi Symbols
Police in Idaho are investigating the defacing of a statue of Anne Frank — the Dutch Jewish girl who kept a diary while in hiding from the Nazis during World War II — by suspected neo-Nazis.
The life-size bronze statue of Frank, which is installed at the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights in Boise, was plastered with antisemitic and racist stickers on Tuesday. The stickers included Nazi and racist symbols alongside the written warning, “We are everywhere.”
The statue of Frank is the only memorial in the US that is dedicated to her specifically.
Other items vandalized included a statue representing the “spiral of injustice” that emanates from the use of hateful speech, as well as a photograph of the center’s founder, Bill Wassmuth — a Catholic priest from 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 part of the state.
“What makes this event actually so sad was the blatancy where the stickers were placed, how they were placed and the message they were proclaiming,” Dan Prinzing — executive director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights — told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Prinzing noted with regret that the vandalism had occurred just as the Jewish community was preparing for the first night of the Hanukkah holiday on Thursday.
“I think what we’re seeing, we have to take seriously — such acts aren’t just random,” Prinzing 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 called the vandalism “absolutely reprehensible.”
Lee pledged that his department was “committed to ferreting out those who would foment hate in the community.”
Lee added that he had reached out to the local office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for assistance.
“We often talk about how hate crimes are message crimes because they intend to strike fear into the larger community. That’s why it’s important to continue to speak out,” the ADL’s Pacific Northwest office tweeted. “We are in touch with Boise PD, local synagogues, and the community to offer our support.”
On Wednesday evening, dozens of sympathizers gathered around the Anne Frank statue to promote a message of tolerance. One message read, “We are everywhere. We choose love.”
— Joe Parris (@KTVBJoe) December 10, 2020