January 23, 2022
VIENNA (Reuters) – The head of a foundation set up by Anne Frank’s father has criticised an investigation into her betrayal to the Nazis that named a Jewish notary as a leading suspect, saying it was “full of errors” and offered no proof, a Swiss newspaper reported.
Anne and seven other Jews were discovered by the Nazis on Aug. 4, 1944, after hiding for nearly two years in a secret annex above a canal-side warehouse in Amsterdam. All were deported and Anne died in the Bergen Belsen camp at the age of 15. Her now-famous diary was later published by her father, Otto Frank.
A team including retired U.S. FBI agent Vincent Pankoke and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists last week identified a relatively unknown figure, Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh, as a leading suspect in revealing the hideout. A book detailing the findings was published on Tuesday.
“It contributes not to uncovering the truth but to confusion and in addition it is full of errors,” John Goldsmith, president of the Basel-based Anne Frank Fund set up by Otto Frank, told Swiss newspaper Blick am Sonntag in an interview.
Some experts have emphasised that the evidence against Van den Bergh was not conclusive. Goldsmith said the team of researchers, which he called a commercial rather than academic undertaking, had not provided proof supporting their assertion.
“This proof just has not been produced. Simply to disseminate an assertion that then in the public discussion becomes a kind of fact borders on a conspiracy theory,” Goldsmith said.
“Now the main statement is: a Jew betrayed Jews. That stays in the memory and it is unsettling.”
(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Susan Fenton)