An investigation claims to have reached the “most likely scenario” of who betrayed the Jewish teen chronicler Anne Frank and her family.
A cold case team says it could have been Arnold van den Bergh, a prominent Jewish notary who revealed the Frank family’s secret hideout to save his own family from deportation and murder in Nazi concentration camps.
It’s described in a new book called “The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation,” by Canadian academic and author Rosemary Sullivan.
“We have investigated more than 30 suspects in 20 different scenarios, leaving one scenario that we like to refer to as the most likely scenario,” said filmmaker Thijs Bayens, who came up with the idea of forming the cold case team.
Bayens was quick to add that “we don’t have 100% certainty.”
The Franks hid with four other Jews from July 1942 to August 1944, when they were discovered and deported to concentration camps.
Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was the only member of the family to survive the war. Anne and her sister died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Anne was 15 years old.
The diary that Anne wrote while in hiding was published after the war and became a symbol of hope and resilience that has been translated into dozens of languages and read by millions.
But the identity of the person who revealed the location of his hideout has always been a mystery, despite previous investigations.
The team’s findings suggest that Otto Frank was one of the first to learn of the possible involvement of Van den Bergh, a prominent member of Amsterdam’s Jewish community.
A short note, a typewritten copy of an anonymous tip given to Otto Frank after the war, names Van den Bergh, who died in 1950, as the person who told German authorities in Amsterdam where to find the Frank family, they say. the researchers.
The note was an overlooked part of a decades-old Amsterdam police investigation that was reviewed by the team, which used artificial intelligence to analyze and link files from around the world.
The Anne Frank House museum in the Amsterdam canal-side building that includes the secret annex welcomed the new investigation, but said it also leaves unanswered questions. The museum gave investigators access to its archives for the cold case project.
“No, I don’t think we can say that a mystery has been solved now. I think it’s an interesting theory that the team came up with,” museum director Ronald Leopold said.
“I think they provide a lot of interesting information, but I also think there are still a lot of missing pieces of the puzzle. And those pieces need to be investigated further to see how we can assess this new theory.”
Bayens said the hunt for the traitor was also a way to search for an explanation for how the horror of the Nazi occupation forced some members of a once-close-knit Amsterdam community to turn against one another.
How did fascism bring people “to the desperate point of betraying each other, which is a horrible, really horrible situation”? he said.
“We went looking for a perpetrator and we found a victim,” Bayens said.