A team led by an FBI investigator may have discovered a likely suspect in one of the biggest mysteries of World War II — who betrayed Anne Frank?
Vince Pankoke, who has spearheaded the six-year cold case investigation into who betrayed Frank and seven other Jews in August 1944, identified a Jewish notary, Arnold van den Bergh, as a leading suspect in revealing the hideout in Amsterdam, The New York Times reported.
Van den Bergh was a Jewish businessman, father and husband who was a member of the Jewish Council in Holland, the newspaper reported.
A book by Rosemary Sullivan based on the investigation, “The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation,” which will be published Tuesday, details the case and how the councils were used by the Nazis to “deceive, control, and slowly destroy a community,” People reported.
Frank and her family had hidden for nearly two years in a secret annex above a warehouse in Amsterdam, CNN reported. They were deported, and Frank died of typhus at the Bergen Belsen concentration camp in Germany in 1945, when she was 15.
Sullivan’s book chronicles who alerted authorities to the hiding place of Frank, her parents and four other Jewish people, the Times reported. Two official investigations, begun in 1947 and 1963, failed to reveal the identity of the informant, the newspaper reported.
Pieter van Twisk, a member of the investigation team, said the crucial piece of new evidence was an unsigned note to Frank’s father, Otto Frank, CNN reported. According to the note, van den Bergh said he had access to addresses where Jews were hiding and had passed the lists of the Nazis to save his family, the news outlet reported.
Investigators confirmed that Otto Frank, the only family member to survive the war, knew about the note but never spoke about it publicly, CNN reported.
Van den Bergh remained in the Netherlands, where he died in 1950.
While hiding in Amsterdam, Anne Frank wrote about her experiences in her diary, “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,” which was published by her father in 1947.
More than 30 million copies of the diary have been sold, People reported.
Sullivan said the Anne Frank Fonds in Basel, Switzerland — one of two charitable organizations started by Otto Frank — would not cooperate with her, the Times reported. The Anne Frank Foundation in Amsterdam, which has turned the warehouse and its annex into a museum, was much more helpful, Sullivan writes.
In the book, Sullivan identifies several possible informants, based on theories advanced through the years, according to the newspaper.
They include the warehouse manager, Willem van Maaren; Lena Hartog, his assistant’s wife; Job Jansen, a former employee who called Otto Frank treasonous for daring to imply during a casual sidewalk encounter that the Third Reich might lose the war; and Anton Ahlers. Still other candidates: a Jewish “V-Frau” named Ans van Dijk — “v” stood for vertrouwens, the Dutch word for trust — who turned in fellow Jews to avoid deportation; and Nelly Voskuijl, who was the sister of a woman who helped to conceal the Franks.
The evidence eventually leads to van der Bergh, Sullivan writes.
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