Publisher apologises for “ground-breaking” book on Anne Frank


Western Europe


Anne Frank has grown out into a well-known book worldwide. Photo AFP, Damir Sencar

Dutch publisher Ambo Anthos apologises for the recent book about the betrayal of Anne Frank. In the research that was announced as ground-breaking, the Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh was designated as the likely betrayer of Anne Frank and her fellow hiders.

The publisher writes that it should have taken a “more critical” stance towards the book by Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan, reports the Dutch broadcaster NOS. According to Ambo Anthos, the international publication of the book “created a stir”. Because international publisher HarperCollins bought the world rights, “they determined the content.”

Ambo Anthos writes that additional book printings have been postponed because the publisher is waiting for “answers from the research team to the questions that have arisen”. “We offer our sincere apologies to anyone who might feel offended by the book,” the publisher writes in a statement.

Pieter van Twisk, the chief researcher, is perplexed by Ambo Anthos’ message. Last week, during a visit to Ambo Anthos, he did not get the idea that the publisher was so troubled by the book.


Immediately after the book’s conclusions were made public earlier this month, criticism of the research came from many quarters. There was admiration for the large amount of information that the team had uncovered, using modern methods. Still, the conclusion that Van den Bergh betrayed the Secret Annexe was based too much on assumptions CNE.news earlier wrote.

“The evidence is fragile,” said historian Dr Erik Somers of Amsterdam’s NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. “The researchers made too many assumptions. They wanted to find this person because a copy of a note is their only guide. That was the starting point for the further search. The fact that it is an anonymous letter is not strong either.”

Anne Frank was a Jewish girl who died in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945 after spending two years hiding with seven other Jews in a secret annexe above a warehouse in Amsterdam. Her diary, published after her death, is the most famous first-hand account of Jewish life during the war. It has been translated into 70 languages.



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