Retired FBI agent has new principle about who betrayed Anne Frank’s household to Nazis

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Anne Frank in 1940. A new book, <em>The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation</em>, by Rosemary Sullivan, claims that a retired FBI special agent and a team of investigators have solved the mystery of who betrayed the Frank family to the Nazis.
Enlarge / Anne Frank in 1940. A brand new e book, The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Chilly Case Investigation, by Rosemary Sullivan, claims {that a} retired FBI particular agent and a workforce of investigators have solved the thriller of who betrayed the Frank household to the Nazis.

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Former FBI particular agent Vincent Pankoke was trying ahead to a calming retirement hanging out on the seaside when he left the company. As a substitute, he was drawn into fixing a well-known chilly case: the query of who betrayed Anne Frank and her household to the Nazis, resulting in their arrest and deportation to a focus camp. Solely the daddy, Otto Frank, survived. To seek out his personal reply to that query, Pankoke assembled his personal crack workforce of dogged investigators. They spent 5 years poring over each little bit of pertinent materials, establishing an intensive on-line database, and creating an AI program to assist them sift by way of all of it and discover new connections.

Whereas admitting that the case is circumstantial and a few cheap doubt stays, Pankoke et al. consider the probably perpetrator is a person named Arnold van den Bergh, an area Jewish chief who could have handed over lists of addresses the place fellow Jews had been hiding to the Nazis so as to shield his family. The Pankoke workforce’s story was featured in a section on 60 Minutes earlier this week (see video at finish of submit) and is roofed intimately in a brand new e book by Rosemary Sullivan, The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Chilly Case Investigation.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals have learn The Diary of Anne Frank because it was first revealed posthumously in 1947. It has been translated into 70 languages and impressed a theatrical play and subsequent Oscar-winning 1959 movie, that includes Millie Perkins within the title function. Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany, however the household fled the nation and settled in Amsterdam after Adolf Hitler got here to energy. They did not flee fairly far sufficient: the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands started in Could 1940 and ultimately pressured the Franks (and plenty of different Jews) into hiding.

A model of the building where Anne Frank stayed, including the Secret Annex.
Enlarge / A mannequin of the constructing the place Anne Frank stayed, together with the Secret Annex.

Anne obtained the well-known diary on June 12, 1942, for her thirteenth birthday, across the time the Gestapo started deporting Jews in Amsterdam. On July 6, the Frank household started their lives within the Secret Annex connected to the workplace constructing at Prinsengracht 263, the place Otto Frank had labored. It was solely accessible by way of a door on the touchdown, stored hidden by a bookcase. Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Miep Gies, and Bep Voskuijl had been the one staff who knew the place the Franks (and later, the Van Pels household) had been hiding. The 4 provided the households with meals and different requirements, figuring out full nicely that they could possibly be condemned to demise by the Nazis for aiding Jews.

Anne chronicled their lives within the Annex in her diary for the subsequent two years, making her closing entry on August 1, 1944. Simply three days later, German police led by SS officers stormed the Annex, arresting the Franks and the Van Pels household and transferring them to the Westerbork transit camp after interrogation. Kugler and Kleiman had been additionally arrested and held at a penal camp for “enemies of the regime.”

Gies and Voskuijl had been questioned, however not detained, and located the pages of Anne’s diary strewn across the flooring once they returned to the Annex, preserving it for posterity. As the entire world now is aware of, 15-year-old Anne Frank died (possible of typhoid fever) at Bergen-Belsen between February and April 1945, the day after her older sister Margot. Their mom, Edith, had died of hunger the yr earlier than.

A reproduction of Anne Frank's diary, part of a permanent exhibition about the life of Anne Frank at the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance.
Enlarge / A copy of Anne Frank’s diary, a part of a everlasting exhibition in regards to the lifetime of Anne Frank on the Simon Wiesenthal Heart and the Museum of Tolerance.

Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Instances/Getty Pictures

There have been two separate official investigations into who could have betrayed the household: one in 1947-1948 and the second (carried out by the Dutch police) in 1963-1964. In each instances, the findings had been inconclusive. Since then, there have been a number of unbiased investigations figuring out completely different doable suspects.

As an illustration, Melissa Muller’s 1998 biography of Anne Frank concluded {that a} girl named Lena Hartog, spouse of the corporate’s assistant warehouse supervisor, betrayed the household. In 2003, Carol Ann Lee got here to a special conclusion in her biography of Otto Frank: the perpetrator was a person named Anton “Tonny” Ahlers, a member of the Nationwide Socialist Motion within the Netherlands. Stockroom supervisor Willem van Maaren was one other suspect, and since a number of doable culprits knew one another, there may be additionally the chance that multiple individual betrayed the Frank household.

A 2015 biography of Bep Voskuijl (co-authored by her son Joop) prompt that certainly one of Bep’s sisters, Nelly, could have snitched on the Franks. Nelly fell in love with a younger Austrian Nazi, had labored for a yr on a German air base, and had political leanings that had sufficiently estranged her from the household that she left their home. This principle holds that Nelly—who returned to Amsterdam in 1943 when her romance soured—could have been the nameless feminine caller who (allegedly) tipped off the SS in regards to the secret Annex, per the testimony of SS officer Karl Josef Silbauer, who made the arrests.

The Anne Frank Home undertook its personal investigation and arrived at a shocking new principle in 2017, due to the efforts of a historian named Gertjan Brock. It is doable, Brock prompt, that there was no betrayal, and the SS raid was actually a part of ongoing makes an attempt to trace down purveyors of unlawful items. This principle holds that the officers simply occurred to bump into the Jewish households hiding within the attic.



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