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Vandals topple Boise’s Anne Frank statue


Idaho Reps. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, right, and Janice McGeachin, R-Idaho Falls, listens to docent Bill Brudenell talks during a 2006 tour of the Idaho Anne Frank Memorial. 
 (Chris Butler The Idaho Statesman / The Spokesman-Review)
Idaho Reps. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, right, and Janice McGeachin, R-Idaho Falls, listens to docent Bill Brudenell talks during a 2006 tour of the Idaho Anne Frank Memorial. (Chris Butler The Idaho Statesman / The Spokesman-Review)
John Miller Associated Press

BOISE – Vandals toppled and damaged a bronze statue of Holocaust victim Anne Frank in Idaho’s capital two months after the memorial was plastered with neo-Nazi stickers.

Damage to the 500-pound statue of the girl, whose diary written in hiding from the Nazis during World War II made her a human rights heroine, included a broken finger and scrapes on the head.

In March the 5-year-old, $1.8 million Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial was plastered with swastika-emblazoned stickers promoting the neo-Nazi group Combat 18, and identical stickers were attached to the Islamic Center of Boise. Combat 18 is a loosely organized group that is believed to have originated in Britain.

The life-size memorial depicts Anne Frank standing atop a chair and stands just south of downtown along the Boise River. Vandals uprooted the chair, sending the entire sculpture crashing to the ground below.

Amy Herzfeld, director of the Idaho Human Rights Education Center, told the Associated Press on Monday it was unclear whether the latest damage was ideologically motivated or opportunistic vandalism.

“Whether or not it was anti-Semitic, it was certainly a destructive and hurtful act,” Herzfeld said. “The amount of energy that it took to topple the statue, whether it was a spontaneous decision or not, it certainly required significant amount of force.”

Nobody was arrested in the case of the stickers, which were removed without damage to the memorial.

Herzfeld said the city Parks and Recreation Department has stored the damaged statue and expects to return it to the site as soon as possible. The artist, based in Massachusetts, has been contacted about repair options.

Popular with tour groups, the memorial was visited by about 900 students on Friday. The vandalism took place either Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

The memorial, erected in 2002, was funded by donations from students, business leaders and philanthropists, including Greg Carr, who also bought the former Aryan Nations neo-Nazi compound in Hayden Lake in 2001 to turn it into a human rights museum.

Anne Frank, born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1929, chronicled her days in hiding in the Dutch city of Amsterdam from 1942 to 1944, when her family was arrested by the occupying Nazis. She died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945 at age 16.

The diary was published after the end of World War II and has sold an estimated 75 million copies worldwide.

Police in Boise, along with the Ada County Human Rights Task Force, are offering a combined $1,500 reward for information leading to an arrest for the vandalism.

“This monument honors the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity, and damaging the monument can be seen as an attempt to damage that spirit in our community,” said Janet Lawler, chairwoman of the Ada County Human Rights Task Force. “We can’t let that happen.”

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