WJC: Act normalizes antisemitism, dehumanizes Holocaust victims

Anne Frank monument in Amsterdam vandalized with red ‘Gaza’ graffiti

Mayor calls incident ‘unbelievable disgrace,’ as city removes slogan daubed on statue; police arrest suspect in vandalism of Christian-Zionist community center near Utrecht

Anne Frank statue in Amsterdam defaced with graffiti reading "Gaza," July 9, 2024. (Netherlands' Center for Information and Documentation Israel)
Anne Frank statue in Amsterdam defaced with graffiti reading "Gaza," July 9, 2024. (Netherlands' Center for Information and Documentation Israel)

A monument to Holocaust diarist Anne Frank in the Amsterdam neighborhood where she lived for much of her life was vandalized with anti-Israel graffiti, local media reported Tuesday.

The word “Gaza” was daubed in red paint on the pedestal, a reference to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which started with the Palestinian terror group’s devastating October 7 assault on Israel.

The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel said that a police report was filed.

City workers and police were dispatched to the statue to remove the graffiti, which was cleaned off, the local AT5 outlet reported.

Mayor Femke Halsema called the graffiti an “unbelievable disgrace” and urged the public to come forward with information that might help catch the culprits.

The World Jewish Congress posted to social media that “vandalizing a statue commemorating Anne Frank, a teenage girl murdered in the Holocaust will not help ‘free Palestine,’ or end the war. This is unacceptable. The only thing it will help is further normalize antisemitism and dehumanize victims of the Holocaust.”

Gert-Jan Jammink, who initiated the project to install the monument, which was unveiled in 2005, told AT5 that the vandalism was “scandalous.”

“It represents the 14,000 Jews from this district who were murdered. It is not about a current situation,” Jammink said. “If you want to draw attention to something, you can go to another location. I have previously advocated for a camera and light source at this location. It makes us think again that we have to do something to protect this defenseless image.”

Anne Frank (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

In June, anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian activists defaced several buildings in the same area, claiming they were targeting companies that have links to Israel.

The war has brought with it a spike in antisemitism around the world, with Jewish communities and icons targeted by anti-Israel activists. Earlier this year there were violent protests by anti-Israel activists at Amsterdam University that forced its closure for two days.

A statue of Anne Frank in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Nov. 26, 2010. The statue was defaced with graffiti reading “Gaza” on July 9, 2024. (Gus Maussen via Creative Commons)

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Dutch police arrested a 33-year-old woman from Arnhem on suspicion that she participated in the vandalization of a Christian-Zionist community center near Utrecht.

The woman may be tied to Extinction Rebellion, a far-left environmentalist group that recently demonstrated outside the Christians for Israel headquarters in Nijkerk near Utrecht, the VeluweFM radio station reported.

The vandalism earlier this week included the scrawling of the slogan “Free Gaza” on the three-story building that houses the Christians for Israel group and subsidiaries, such as the Israel Product Center. The building features a large Israeli flag at the entrance.

War erupted on October 7, when Hamas led a massive cross-border raid on Israel that killed 1,200 people amid numerous atrocities. The 3,000 terrorists who burst into southern Israel also abducted 251 people who were taken as hostages to Gaza.

Israel responded with a military offensive to destroy Hamas, topple its Gaza regime, and free the hostages.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 38,000 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead in the fighting so far, though the toll cannot be verified and does not differentiate between civilians and fighters. Israel says it has killed some 15,000 combatants in battle and some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel during the October 7 attack.

Anne Frank was born in Germany and then moved to Amsterdam when she was a young girl. The family was trapped there when Nazi Germany occupied the Netherlands in World War II. After hiding from the Nazis for two years, Anne Frank and her family were captured in a raid in 1944. The teenager and her sister died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

Her diary, found by her father Otto after the war, became one of the most well-read accounts of the Holocaust, selling some 30 million copies.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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