BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Vandals have stolen this city’s memorial to Anne Frank in what Jewish leaders call a crime likely motivated by the value of the statue’s metals, not anti-Semitism.
The Dutch Embassy in Buenos Aires tweeted an image of the statue’s location on Friday along with a message condemning the theft. Police have not released any details.
Several bronze statues and other metal statues have been stolen throughout the city in recent years, by what some have called a “bronze mafia”. The largest Jewish cemetery in the expanded province of Buenos Aires has been robbed several times since last year.
“If this was a case of antisemitism, there should be vandalism on the statue, signs, they should have destroyed the statue. But it’s not. It’s for the metal Ariel Gelblung, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Latin America, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The Latin American branch of the Wiesenthal Center called for a quick response from authorities.
The statue is a replica of one located in Amsterdam, where Anne and her family were hidden during World War II. The Argentinian version was inaugurated in 2014 in the Kingdom of the Netherlands Square in the Puerto Madero district of Buenos Aires, a popular tourist area.
Acabamos to receive the fantastic news that he encountered the statue of Ana Frank! Agradecemos muchísimo a @horaciorlarretaa @MarceDaless Hey, you @Policia_ciudad for quick action! pic.twitter.com/vwk2ANoLnR
— Embajada Países Bajos in Argentina (@NLinArgentina) March 4, 2022
Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, a Dutch Holocaust survivor and former president of the European Union for Progressive Judaism, was the keynote speaker at the 2014 ceremony. He said a Dutch housewife greeted him like a three-month-old child hidden in a suitcase in occupied Holland seven decades earlier.
“I am here because of human compassion,” he said.
There is also an Anne Frank House and Museum in Buenos Aires, inaugurated in 2009.