The Betrayal Of Anne Frank | A team of historians, criminologists and data specialists have been using modern investigative techniques and believe a relatively unknown figure, Arnold van den Bergh, gave the Frank family up to the Nazis. It gives insight on how the Nazis found the hiding place of the famous diarist in 1944.
Anne and seven other Jews were discovered by the Nazis on Aug. 4 of that year, after they had hid for nearly two years in a secret annex above a canal-side warehouse in Amsterdam. All were deported and Anne died in the Bergen Belsen camp at age 15.
A six-year investigation into the death of Second World War diarist Anne Frank has named a suspect who “very likely” gave her family up to the Nazis.
A Jewish notary has been named by a cold case team led by a former FBI agent as the prime suspect for the betrayal of Anne Frank and her family to the Nazis.
Arnold van den Bergh, whom died in 1950, has been accused on the basis of six years of research and an anonymous note received by Anne’s father, Otto Frank, after his return to Amsterdam at the end of the war.
A team that included retired U.S. FBI agent Vincent Pankoke, around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialistsof has been using modern investigative techniques to look into the circumstances surrounding the betrayal of the teenager more than 75 years ago.
They believe a relatively unknown figure, Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh, gave the Frank family up in order to save his own family, research team member Pieter van Twisk told the daily NRC newspaper.
However, some other experts emphasised that the evidence against him was not conclusive.
Anne was discovered in a raid at the canal-side house in Amsterdam on 4 August 1944 after two years of hiding in some concealed rooms behind a bookcase.
Previous studies have claimed there was no conclusive evidence the young Jewish diarist and her family were betrayed.
Some theories claimed the raid which led to their detention may have been part of an investigation into illegal labour or falsified ration coupons.
The new investigation team, compiled a master database with lists of Nazi collaborators, informants, historic documents, police records and prior research to uncover new leads.
Dozens of suspects had been named in past decades, but never before had modern investigative techniques been applied so extensively to identify a suspect.
The attempt to identify the betrayer was not intended to lead to prosecution, but to solve one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in the Netherlands of the Second World War.
Investigating team member Pieter van Twisk said the crucial piece of new evidence was an unsigned note to Anne’s father Otto found in an old post-war investigation dossier, specifically naming Van den Bergh and alleging he passed on the information.
The note said Van den Bergh had access to addresses where Jews were hiding as a member of Amsterdam’s wartime Jewish Council and had passed lists of such addresses to the Nazis to save his own family.
Twisk said only four out of initial 32 names remained following the research, with Van den Bergh the lead suspect.
Investigators confirmed that Otto, the only member of the family to survive the war, was aware of the note but chose never to speak of it publicly.
Van Twisk speculated that Frank’s reasons to remain silent about the allegation were likely that he could not be sure it was true, that he would not want information to become public that could feed further anti-Semitism, and that he would not want Van den Bergh’s three daughters to be blamed for something their father might have done.
Otto “had been in Auschwitz,” Van Twisk said. “He knew that people in difficult situations sometimes do things that cannot be morally justified.”
After Anne was discovered, her diary – which documented her time in hiding from 1942 to 1944 – was kept safe until it was published by her father, Otto, in 1947.
Anne, 15, and her elder sister Margot died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.
The findings of the new research will be published in a book by Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan, “The Betrayal of Anne Frank” , which is due to be released on Tuesday.
The director of Dutch Jewish organisation CIDI which combats anti-Semitism told Reuters she hoped the book would provide insight into the war-time circumstances of Amsterdam’s Jewish population.
“If this turns into ‘the Jews did it’ that would be unfortunate. The Nazis were ultimately responsible,” Hanna Luden of CIDI said.
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