Dutch publisher widely criticizes Anne Frank’s book

The Hague, Netherlands

A group of Dutch historians have published an in-depth critique of the work and conclusion of a cold case team who said they had pieced together the “most likely scenario” of the betrayal of Jewish teenage columnist Anne Frank and from his family.

The Cold Case team’s research, which was published earlier this year in The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation, by Canadian scholar and author Rosemary Sullivan, immediately drew criticism from Netherlands.

Now, in a 69-page written ‘rebuttal’, six historians and scholars describe the cold case team’s findings as ‘a tottering house of cards’. The book’s Dutch publisher repeated its earlier apology and announced on Tuesday evening that it was removing the book from stores and called on booksellers to return their stock.

The book says the person who revealed the location of the Frank family’s secret annex hideout in an Amsterdam canal-side building was likely a prominent Jewish notary, Arnold van den Bergh, who revealed the location to the German occupiers of the Netherlands to save his own family from deportation and death in Nazi concentration camps.

Dutch historians have reviewed the team’s work and concluded that “the accusation does not hold water”.

Historians said the book “presents a distinct pattern in which assumptions are made by the CCT [Cold Case Team], held to be true a moment later, then used as the building block for the next step in the train of logic. This makes the whole book a flimsy house of cards, because if a single step proves wrong, the cards above also crumble.

Cold Case team leader Pieter van Twisk defended his work during an appearance on Dutch broadcaster NOS, saying the historians’ work was “very detailed and extremely solid” and said that it “gives us a number of things to think about, but at this time I don’t see Van den Bergh being permanently removed as a prime suspect.

Since its publication in January, the book has drawn backlash from Jewish groups, historians and independent scholars who have criticized the Cold Case team’s conclusion.

Last month, the main umbrella group of National Jewish Communities in Europe urged HarperCollins to withdraw the English edition, saying it had tarnished the memory of Anne Frank and the dignity of Holocaust survivors.

HarperCollins did not respond to a request for comment.

The Cold Case team has posted detailed reactions to criticism of their work on their website.

Dutch filmmaker Thijs Bayens, who came up with the idea for the cold case team, conceded in January that the team was not 100% certain about Mr Van den Bergh.

“There is no absolute proof because the betrayal is circumstantial,” Mr. Bayens told The Associated Press at the time.

The Frank family and four other Jews hid in the annex, which was accessed by a secret staircase hidden behind a bookcase, from July 1942 until their discovery in August 1944 and their deportation to concentration camps.

Anne and her sister died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Anne was 15 years old. Only Anne’s father, Otto Frank, survived the Holocaust. He published his diary after World War II and it quickly became an enduring symbol of hope and resilience, read by millions around the world.

The Anne Frank House Museum, which is based in the building where the Frank family hid, had no immediate comment on the historian’s research. In January, museum director Ronald Leopold called the team’s conclusion of the cold case an “interesting theory”, but said he thought there were “still many missing pieces to the puzzle”. . And these pieces need to be studied further in order to see how we can value this new theory.

This story was reported by the Associated Press. Reuters material has been used in this report.