BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — Vandals stole 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 and other metal statues have been stolen throughout the city in recent years, by what some have called it the “Bronze Mafia”. the the largest Jewish cemetery in the expanded province of Buenos Aires has been repeatedly robbed 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 asked for a quick response from the 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 Square of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Puerto Madero district of Buenos Aires, a popular tourist area.
Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, a Dutch Holocaust survivor and former president of the European Union for Progressive Judaism, was the main speaker at the ceremony. He said a Dutch housewife had taken him in as a three-month-old 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.