Who betrayed Anne Frank to the Nazis? Surprise suspect 'identified' after 77 years

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Jan 18, 2022, 01:27 PM(IST)

This is a file photo of Anne Frank. Photograph:( Others )

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AnneĀ and seven other Jews were discovered by the Nazis on Aug. 4 of that year, after they had hidden for nearly two years in a secret

The conspiracies and mysteries around one of the most famous incidents of World War II , namely the betrayal of Anne Frank,  might have been solved. A Jewish notary has been identified as the 'prime suspect' who betrayed the teen diarist and her family to the Nazis. 

Frank, who died aged 15, was a German-Dutch diarist of Jewish heritage and emerged as one of the most discussed victims of the Holocaust. 

Her name became popular posthumously with the 1947 publication of 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in which she documented her life while in hiding from 1942 to 1944. 

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The diary

Frank started diary entries in an autograph book she received as a gift, which was bound with red-and-white checkered cloth with a small lock on the front. 

In the diary, she listed many of the restrictions placed upon the lives of the Dutch Jewish population. She also wrote about her wish to publish a book about her time in the 'Secret Annex'. After the war, her father Otto Frank fulfilled her wish.

Since then, Anne Frank's diary has been translated into more than 70 languages, becoming one of the most haunting accounts of the Holocaust, selling some 30 million copies.

The betrayal

In 1944, Anne and seven other Jews were discovered by the Nazis on August 4, after they had hidden for nearly two years in a secret place above a canal-side warehouse in Amsterdam. 

The secret hiding place became known as the Achterhuis, which was translated into "Secret Annex" in English editions of the diary. 

After they were found, all were deported and reportedly Anne died in the Bergen Belsen camp at age 15.

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The investigation

A team that included retired US FBI agent Vincent Pankoke and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists led an investigation. 

The probe revealed that a Jewish figure named Arnold van den Bergh might have revealed the Franks' hiding place in Amsterdam to the Nazis in a bid to save his own family.  

However, some other experts emphasised that the evidence against him was not conclusive.

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The clue

According to a new book about the investigation, the evidence comes from modern data-crunching techniques combined with a long-lost, anonymous note sent to Anne's father Otto naming Van den Bergh. 

The Anne Frank House museum said it was "impressed" by the evidence in the book being published on Tuesday by Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan, but that further investigation was needed.

Anne's father told detectives in 1964 that he had received a note shortly after the war naming Van den Bergh as the betrayer of his family, and of several other people. A copy made by Frank of the note was found by the team in a police officer's archives.

(With inputs from agencies)

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