Anne Frank, the teenage Holocaust victim whose posthumously published diary gave the world a glimpse of what it was like to hide from Nazi persecution, may have been betrayed by a prominent Jewish businessman, according to a cold case-like study outlined in a new book, “The Betrayal of Anne Frank A Cold Case Investigation,” by Rosemary Sullivan.
The book, which describes an investigation led by former FBI agent Vincent Panoke, is scheduled for will be published on Tuesday.
Anne spent two years hiding in a secret annex in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. On August 4, 1944, the Nazis broke in and drove Anne’s family and four other Jews hiding there to concentration camps.
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Only Otto Frank, Anne’s father, survived. After the war, he found his daughter’s diary and had it published in 1947.
Pankoke and his investigators re-examined the case from World War II with modern techniques and technology – and highlighted Arnold van den Bergh, a prominent Jewish notary in Amsterdam, as the “most likely” traitor of the Frank family. He may have done so to spare his own from deportation to a concentration camp.
“We have investigated over 30 suspects in 20 different scenarios, leaving a scenario we would like to refer to as the most likely scenario,” filmmaker Thijs Bayens told the Associated Press on Monday.
“There’s no smoking gun because treason is cumbersome,” said Bayens, who came up with the idea for the investigation.
But a long-lost anonymous tip sent to Otto Frank after the war faked van den Bergh as the informant who told the Nazis about the hideout. The investigation team recovered it during an AI-assisted review of old documents. The suspected informant died himself in 1950.
In a statement Anne Frank’s house, a non-profit organization that runs a museum in the building where the Franks hid, said it was not involved in the investigation, but allowed the team to review its archives and museum – as well as its own 2016 case study, which examined other potential causes of the Nazi raid.
“In Anne Frank’s House, we aim to tell Anne Frank’s life story as completely as possible, so it’s important to also investigate the arrest of Anne Frank and the seven other people in the secret annex as detailed as possible,” said the organization’s CEO Ronald Leopold. “The Cold Case team’s study has generated important new information and a fascinating hypothesis that deserves further research.”
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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