Book about betrayal Anne Frank removed from bookstore


Western Europe


Presentation of the report on the book about the betrayal of Anne Frank. Photo ANP, Evert Elzinga

The book about the betrayal of Anne Frank will no longer be sold in Dutch bookstores. The publisher, Ambo Anthos, recalls the book after historians severely criticised the research after the betrayal of the Jewish Anne Frank in a report presented on Tuesday.

The group of historians called the research of the cold case team that aimed to find the betrayer of Anne Frank during World War II "amateurish." On Tuesday, they pointed out that historical sources were misused, assumptions were seen as true, and the researchers had tunnel vision: the suspect is guilty until proven not to be. According to the researchers, the members of the cold team had insufficient knowledge about the period between 1930 and 1950. In addition, the historians point out that assumptions “are first presented as nuanced hypotheses, but then taken to be true.”

In the book called "Het verraad van Anne Frank" (The betrayal of Anne Frank), author Rosemary Sullivan and her team write that the girl was probably betrayed by the Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh. The book led to much controversy after its publication.

Soon, the publisher concluded that the team had not been critical enough and that the conclusion from the book about the betrayal was not supported sufficiently by the available evidence in the case. Extra prints were postponed at that time.

After hearing the conclusions from the report on Tuesday, the Ambo Enthos definitively decided to recall the books. In addition, it offered "sincere apologies" to people who were grieved by the book's content.

Granddaughter notary wants books recalled worldwide

Also, the granddaughter of notary Van den Bergh called publisher Harper Collins to remove all exemplars from bookstores worldwide. According to her, the book falsifies history. It is unknown what Harper Collins will do. Van den Bergh's granddaughter says that she is happy with the decision of Ambo Anthos and with the report of the historians.

She was shocked when she heard that her grandfather was pointed out as the most likely betrayer of Anne Frank and her family. Despite her contact with the researchers, she says that she did not have the slightest idea that they would come to this conclusion.

Pieter van Twisk, the leader of the cold case team that researched the betrayal of Anne Frank, says he is totally "surprised and shocked" by the publisher's decision. On Tuesday, he still said that he had not read anything in the report that would undermine his theory about Van den Bergh. According to him, everything comes down to the interpretation of evidence. "The historians stress different accents than we do. We don't say that he did it, but Van den Bergh remains the most likely suspect for us (…) Our goal was never to accuse Van den Berg, but their goal was to acquit him."

The municipality of Amsterdam says in a reaction that it is good that several experts looked thoroughly at the case. Currently, Amsterdam is looking whether it can reclaim the amount of money it put into the cold case research.



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