A six-year cold-case investigation into the betrayal of Anne Frank has identified a surprising suspect in the mystery of how the Nazis found the famous diarist’s hiding place in 1944.
Anne and seven other Jews were discovered by the Nazis on 4 August of that year, after they had been hiding for nearly two years in a secret annex above a canalside warehouse in Amsterdam. All were exiled and Anne died at the age of 15 in the Bergen Belsen camp.
A team that included retired US FBI agent Vincent Pancock and about 20 historians, crime experts and data experts identified a relatively unknown man, Jewish notary Arnold van den Berg, as a prime suspect in uncovering the whereabouts.
Some other experts insisted that the evidence against him was not conclusive.
Investigative team member Peter van Twisch said the key piece of new evidence was an unsigned note found in an old post-war investigation dossier to Anne’s father, Otto, specifically naming van den Berg and alleging that he provided information. passed to
The note stated that van den Berg had access to addresses where Jews were hiding as members of the Wartime Jewish Council of Amsterdam and that he passed a list of such addresses to the Nazis in order to protect his family.
Twisk said only four of the initial 32 names were following research, with van den Berg being the prime suspect.
Investigators confirmed that Otto, the only family member to survive the war, was aware of the note but chose to never speak it publicly.
Van Twisch speculates that the reasons for keeping quiet about Frank’s allegations were likely that he could not be sure that it was true, that he did not wish to make public information that could feed further anti-Semitism, and He would blame the three daughters of van den Berg for something their father had done.
Otto “was at Auschwitz,” said van Twisch. “He knew that in difficult situations people sometimes do things that cannot be morally justified.”
While other members of the Jewish Council were exiled in 1943, van den
Berg was able to stay in the Netherlands. He died in 1950.
Historian Eric Sommers of the Dutch NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies praised the extensive investigation, but was skeptical of its conclusions.
He questions the centrality of the anonymous note in van den Berg’s arguments for responsibility, and states that the team has made assumptions about wartime Amsterdam Jewish institutions that are not supported by other historical research.
According to Somers, there are several possible reasons Van den Berg was never exiled because “he was a very influential person.”
One of the family’s assistants, Miep Gies, kept Anne’s diary until Otto returned and published it for the first time in 1947. It has since been translated into 60 languages and has captured the imagination of millions of readers around the world.
The Anne Frank House Foundation was not involved in the cold case investigation, but shared information from its archives to assist.
Director Ronald Leopold said the research has generated “important new information and a compelling hypothesis that deserves further research.”
Using modern research techniques, a master database was compiled with lists of Dutch collaborators, informants, historical documents, police records and prior research to uncover new leads.
Based on knowledge of the hiding place, motive and occasion, dozens of scenarios and locations of suspects were conceived to identify the betrayer.
The findings of the new research will be published in Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan’s book The Betrayal of Anne Frank, which will be released on Tuesday.
The director of the anti-Semitism organization CIDI, which combats anti-Semitism, told Reuters he hoped the book would provide insight into the war-time conditions of Amsterdam’s Jewish population.
“It would be unfortunate if it turns into ‘Jews did’,” said CIDI’s Hanna Luden. The Nazis were ultimately held responsible.
This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.