There have always been horrible things that happen in the world since the beginning of time, but the blessing and curse of modern society is the exposure of all these horrible things. The media has been capitalizing on everything that has been happening, and with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing everyone to comply with mandated orders, it really seems like this year has been the absolute worst.
And to make matters even more worse, racism and police brutality have been exposed even more, causing more and more division within the country. Among all the horrible incidents that have been evident of this division, this circumstance is completely unnecessary and uncalled for.
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On Tuesday morning, the only Anne Frank memorial in the United States was vandalized, emphasizing a clear display of concerning hate prompting a police department investigation. The graffiti in question? Nazi swastika stickers.
Dan Prinzing, the executive director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights that maintains the memorial in Boise, Idaho, said, “It’s sad that this is becoming a statement of who and what our community is.”
Anne Frank Memorial in Boise, Idaho Covered in Swastika Stickers
The memorial is a life-size bronze statue of Frank, holding her diary and looking out of a window of the secret annex that she and her family spent 761 days hiding from the Nazis until they were found and sent to concentration camps in 1944. The swastika sticker was dressed with the words, “We are everywhere,” and was stuck to Frank’s diary, while another was stuck to a statue representing the “spiral of injustice.”
“Is this what we’re becoming?” Prinzing wonders aloud. Another sticker covered Bill Wassmuth’s picture, the center’s namesake. Wassmuth was a Catholic priest who actually left the priesthood to focus on fighting white supremacists and the Aryan Nations, a neo-Nazi group at the time, in northern Idaho. He passed away back in 2002.
Prinzing called the vandalization of the memorial, “a stab to the heart,” stirring up the community to react. Some have already been asking Prinzing to hold a physical vigil, and others have started fundraising drives. Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee called the defamation “absolutely reprehensible, ” saying the agency has reached out to the Anti-Defamation League as part of the police’s investigation.
Wassmuth Center for Human Rights
Unfortunately, this is also not the first time the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial has been vandalized since its 2002 dedication. In 2017, it was covered with anti-Semitic graffiti and racial slurs that amounted to $20,000 in damage. Prinzing explained that the vandalism is not only physically damaging the memorial, but also emotionally damaging to “the psyche of the community.”
Prinzing continued to highlight the truly daunting blatancy by saying, “This is an “important moment in really beginning to question ourselves: Who are we and what (are we) doing to fight injustice?” And he echoed Eleanor Roosevelt’s words that are etched into the memorial in saying, “Where, after all, do human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.”