An Anne Frank statue in Idaho that officials say is the only monument to the Holocaust victim in the country was defaced with a swastika symbol sticker this week. Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said in an online news conference with community leaders Thursday that authorities are investigating the vandalism at the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial.
"The vandalism that occurred at the Anne Frank memorial is reprehensible," McLean said. "It's a crime on so many levels and it's truly horrific and I condemn it."
"We will do everything in our power to protect the residents and hold true to who we are as a community, which is one that welcomes all, and continues to reckon with its past and knows that we can do better,' McLean said.
The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, which built the memorial in 1995, posted a photo Wednesday on Facebook showing the swastika symbol with a message that read,"We are everywhere" on the memorial a day earlier. The incident happened days before Hanukkah and Human Rights Day, both of which are observed across the world.
The memorial is also one of the few places in the world where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is in permanent, public display in its entirety.
Dan Prinzing, executive director of the center, said he wants to echo what the memorial means to the state and the nation.
"We're the proud of home," he said. "This is the only Anne Frank memorial in the United States. One of the few places in the world with 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' and recognized as an international 'Site of Conscience.' It makes a statement about us. Now, the challenge is to live up to the statement."
Prinzing noted the outpouring of support in the community following the Facebook post. Local residents began to adorn the statue with flowers and messages of support.
"The stickers that were placed on the memorial said they are 'everywhere,' well, what we were reminded yesterday is that love is everywhere and kindness is everywhere."
The memorial was inspired by Frank, whose famous WWII diary is considered one of the most important works of the 20th century.