The Dutch publisher Ambo Anthos stops the reissue of the book that points to a Jewish notary as an informer of Anne Frank | Culture

The Dutch publisher Ambo Anthos has postponed the Dutch-language reprint of the book Who betrayed Anne Frank? written by Canadian Rosemary Sullivan. Launched worldwide on January 17, the study points to a Jewish notary, Arnold van den Bergh, as the possible informer of the author of the Newspaper most famous of the Holocaust. But several historians in the Netherlands have pointed out the lack of reliable evidence to support that the public notary betrayed the girl and her family, and consider that they have been taken as certain facts that have not been satisfactorily confirmed.

In a letter sent to the authors who publish on the label, the Dutch publisher has apologized “to all those who have felt offended”, and accepts that it should have been more critical of an accusatory theory of this type. From Ambo Anthos they add that they are waiting for the doubts raised by the conclusions of the work to be cleared up to see if they reprint it.

Although the note with the publisher’s excuses is of an internal nature, the writer and journalist Ronit Palache has spread it on her Twitter and Facebook accounts. In the text sent to its authors, the publisher indicates that it became interested four years ago in the rights of an investigation into who betrayed the Frank family and revealed their hiding place. “It seemed valuable to us, because of the experts, organizations and institutions involved. [23 personas de siete países que han trabajado durante cinco años] and because it would gather information for future research”, explain the Dutch editors. They also point out that the American house HarperCollins “has the worldwide rights and decides the content”, adding that “we are very sorry for the reaction caused by a work published by us; We should have been more critical.” The apology is accompanied by the following warning: “We await the response of the researchers to the questions raised by their work, and we postpone the decision to print new reissues.” HarperCollins has not commented for now.

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Original from Anne Frank's diary, exhibited at the Amsterdam House-Museum.
Original from Anne Frank’s diary, exhibited at the Amsterdam House-Museum.Anne Frank House

According to the new book, the Jewish Council, which represented the community in Amsterdam, had lists of those in hiding and these may have been seen by notary Arnold van den Bergh. He was one of its members and a well-known professional at the time, and he is pointed out as a possible informer to save his family. Although the Jewish Council was criticized after World War II for its role as an instrument in the hands of the occupying forces, it has not been possible to prove that they had the names of refugees from their own community. Nor, that the notary Van den Bergh yielded them. “On the contrary, the evidence that he was in hiding when the Nazis found the refugees in the annex is overwhelming,” Johannes Houwink ten Cate, a specialist in the study of the Holocaust, says on the phone.

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Flowers and stones on the tombstone of Margot and Anne Frank on their grave near Lohheide (Germany).
Flowers and stones on the tombstone of Margot and Anne Frank on their grave near Lohheide (Germany).Alexander Koerner (Getty Images)

Anne Frank hid with her parents, sister and four other people in the annex of a house on the canals of Amsterdam. They remained there between July 1942 and August 1944, when they were discovered by German and Dutch policemen. Only Otto Frank, the father, returned from the concentration camps.

The team of researchers who have worked on Who betrayed Anne Frank? he enlisted the help of Vince Pankoke, a former FBI agent, who has brought his experience in unsealed police cases. Once thirty theories about alleged traitors have been ruled out, after having applied modern investigation methods and with the support of artificial intelligence, they present the theory of the Jewish notary. They had, as they explain, “85% security”, a figure considered “ridiculous” by Dutch historians such as David Barnouw, author of the book The Phenomenon of Anne Frank (Indiana University Press, 2018).

For its part, the Anne Frank House Museum, opened in the Dutch capital in the place of the hiding place, has requested that there be more studies, “because as long as we do not have 100% or 200% security, we must be careful saying something So”. The Anne Frank Fund, based in Basel and which manages the distribution and use of the Newspaper, has also been very critical. From there, they describe the conclusions raised in the new book as “bordering on the conspiracy theory”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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