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Anne Frank Memorial Defaced with Swastika Stickers

The only Anne Frank memorial in the United States was vandalized Tuesday, a distressing display of hate that has prompted a police investigation, officials said.

“It’s sad that this is becoming a statement of who and what our community is,” said Dan Prinzig, director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, which maintains the memorial in Boise, Idaho.

The memorial includes a life-sized bronze statue of Frank, which depicts her holding her diary and peering out the window of the secret annex in which she and her family spent 761 days hiding from Nazis before they were found and sent to concentration camps in 1944.

Stickers with swastikas and the words “We are everywhere” were found affixed to the diary, and another was pasted to a statue representing the “spiral of injustice.”

“Is this what we’re becoming?” Prinzig asked.

Another sticker was pasted over a photo of Bill Wassmuth, the center’s namesake. He was a Catholic priest 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.

The defamation of the memorial, which Prinzig called a “stab to the heart,” has been a rallying cry for the community. Several community members asked Prinzig to hold a physical vigil, while others started fundraising drives, he said.

Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee called the vandalism “absolutely reprehensible”.