Dutch publisher pulls disputed Anne Frank book – DW (English)
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Ambo Anthos is withdrawing “The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation” after six Dutch experts complained the book was based on hypotheses and an incorrect interpretation of sources.
Anne Frank’s family was deported in August 1944
Amsterdam-based publishing house Ambo Anthos announced on Tuesday that it was pulling the Dutch edition of the book “The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation” from the market, following a discussion panel by six historians, who said the team’s findings were “sometimes based on an evidently erroneous reading of the sources, fabricated additions to sources, and has not in any way been subjected to a critical assessment.”
“A number of prominent experts presented a very critical report on the investigation that is described in the book,” said Ambo Anthos in a statement announcing the book’s withdrawal. “Based on the conclusions of this report, we have decided that effective immediately, the book will no longer be available.
“We will call upon bookstores to return their stock. We would once again like to offer our sincere apologies to everyone who has been offended by the contents of this book,” the statement added.
In 1933, Anne Frank and her family fled from Germany to the Netherlands to escape the Nazis. In the Second World War, she had to go into hiding under the German occupation. For two years, she lived concealed in the secret annex of a house in Amsterdam. But someone betrayed her: On August 4, 1944, her family was found, arrested and deported to Auschwitz.
Anne Frank (front left) had a sister Margot (back right) who was three-and-a-half years older than she was. Her father, Otto Frank, took this photo on Margot’s eighth birthday in February 1934, when the family was already in exile in the Netherlands.
Anne’s father was able to found a company in Amsterdam. It had its headquarters in this building (c.). Otto organized the “secret annex” above and behind the premises. The family of four lived there from 1942 to 1944, together with four other people on the run from the Nazis. It was here that Anne Frank wrote her world-famous diary. The Anne Frank House has been a museum since 1960.
From the start, Anne wrote in her diary almost every day. It became a kind of friend to her, and she called it Kitty. The life she led was completely different from her previous, carefree existence. “What I like the most is that I can at least write down what I think and feel, otherwise I would completely suffocate,” she penned.
Anne Frank and her sister were taken from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen on October 30, 1944. More than 70,000 people died in this concentration camp. After the liberation of the camp, the victims were transported to mass graves under the supervision of British soldiers. Anne and Margot Frank were among those who died there from typhus, at an unknown date in March 1945. Anne was just 15 years old.
Anne’s tombstone also stands in Bergen-Belsen. This Jewish girl from Frankfurt had imagined her life differently. “I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to bring joy and aid to the people who live around me, but who don’t know me all the same. I want to live on, even after my death,” she wrote in her diary on April 5, 1944.
Her great dream was to become a journalist or author. Thanks to her father, her diary was published on July 25, 1947. An English version was brought out in 1952. Anne Frank became a symbol for the victims of the Nazi dictatorship. “We all live with the aim of attaining happiness; we all live differently, but the same.” — Anne Frank, July 6, 1944.
Author: Iveta Ondruskova / tj
“The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation” was written by Canadian academic Rosemary Sullivan and based on an inquiry conducted by FBI detective Vince Pankoke.
It claims that the person who revealed the location of Anne Frank’s family’s secret hiding place in Amsterdam was most likely a Jewish notary called Arnold van den Bergh, who died in 1950 of throat cancer. The book alleges that the notary revealed the Frank family’s location to German occupiers to save his own family from deportation to a Nazi concentration camp.
The Diary of Anne Frank has been translated into many languages
A team of six Dutch academics, Bart van der Boom, Petra van den Boomgard, Aaldrik Hermans, Raymund Schütz, Laurien Vastenhout and Bart Wallet, however, concluded that there was “not any serious evidence for this grave accusation.” Their criticism of the investigation is detailed in a 68-page report, titled “The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Refutation.”
“Why would someone leave the relative safety of a hiding place to betray others when there was no actual motive for doing so because he, his children and his wife were already all in hiding? To sum up: there is no motive,” states the report, as quoted by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The book “displays a distinct pattern in which assumptions are made by the CCT (Cold Case Team), held to be true a moment later, and then used as a building block for the next step in the train of logic. This makes the entire book a shaky house of cards because if any single step turns out to be wrong, the cards above also collapse,” the report added.
A large sculpture stands in front of Dachau. Located just outside Munich, it was the first concentration camp opened by the Nazi regime. Just a few weeks after Adolf Hitler came to power, it was used by the paramilitary SS Schutzstaffel to imprison, torture and kill political opponents of the regime. Dachau also served as a prototype and model for the other Nazi camps that followed.
The villa on Berlin’s Wannsee lake was pivotal in the planning of the Holocaust. Fifteen members of the Nazi government and the SS Schutzstaffel met here on January 20, 1942 to devise what became known as the “Final Solution,” the deportation and extermination of all Jews in German-occupied territory. In 1992, the villa where the Wannsee Conference was held was turned into a memorial and museum.
Located next to the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was inaugurated 60 years after the end of World War II on May 10, 2005, and opened to the public two days later. Architect Peter Eisenman created a field with 2,711 concrete slabs. An attached underground “Place of Information” holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims.
Not too far from the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, another concrete memorial honors the thousands of homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. The 4-meter high (13-foot) monument, which has a window showing alternately a film of two men or two women kissing, was inaugurated in Berlin’s Tiergarten on May 27, 2008.
Nuremberg hosted the biggest Nazi party propaganda rallies from 1933 until the start of World War II. The annual Nazi Party congress, as well as rallies with as many as 200,000 participants, took place on the 11-square-kilometer (4.25-square-mile) area. Today, the unfinished Congress Hall building serves as a documentation center and a museum.
The Bendlerblock building in Berlin was the headquarters of a military resistance group. On July 20, 1944, a group of Wehrmacht officers around Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg carried out an assassination attempt on Hitler that ultimately failed. The leaders of the conspiracy were summarily shot the same night in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock. Today, it’s the German Resistance Memorial Center.
The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Lower Saxony was initially established as a prisoner of war camp before becoming a concentration camp. Prisoners too sick to work were brought here from other concentration camps, and many also died of disease. One of the 50,000 people killed here was Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who gained international fame after her diary was published posthumously.
Located near the Thuringian town of Weimar, Buchenwald was one of the largest concentration camps in Germany. From 1937 to April 1945, the National Socialists deported about 270,000 people from all over Europe to the camp and murdered 64,000 of them before the camp was liberated by US soldiers in 1945. The site now serves as a memorial to the victims.
Opposite the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin, a park inaugurated in 2012 serves as a memorial to the 500,000 Sinti and Roma people killed by the Nazi regime. Around a memorial pool, the poem “Auschwitz” by Roma poet Santino Spinelli is written in English, Germany and Romani. “Gaunt face, dead eyes, cold lips, quiet, a broken heart, out of breath, without words, no tears,” it reads.
In the 1990s, artist Gunter Demnig began the project to confront Germany’s Nazi past. The brass-covered concrete cubes placed in front of the former homes of Nazi victims show their names, details about their deportation, and murder, if known. As of early 2022, some 100,000 “Stolpersteine” have been laid in over 25 countries across Europe. It’s the world’s largest decentralized Holocaust memorial.
Right next to the “Führerbau,” where Adolf Hitler had his office in Munich, was the headquarters of the Nazi Party, called the Brown House. A white cube now occupies the place where it once stood. In it, the “Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism” opened on April 30, 2015, 70 years after the defeat of the Nazi regime.
Author: Max Zander
Following the report’s release on Tuesday, Van den Bergh’s granddaughter, Mirjam de Gorter, thanked the experts. She had previously objected to the way the cold case team used her interview in “The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold case Investigation.”
“This case is not about me but the whole context of the story in which, out of the blue, my grandfather Arnold van den Bergh has been portrayed worldwide as a Jewish scapegoat, moreover Anne Frank’s international prominence as a symbol of the Holocaust is exploited in a particularly dishonest way,” she told the Dutchnews website.
De Gorter has also requested Harper Collins to remove the book from international circulation.
The cold case team’s leader, Peter van Twisk, refuted the accusation. He told Dutch broadcaster NOS that the team’s work was “very detailed and extremely solid” and that the criticism provided many things to think about, but that he didn’t see that Van den Bergh could be definitely removed as a suspect.
“The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation” is no stranger to controversy and has been the subject of debate since its publication in January.
Dutch filmmaker Thijs Bayens, who had the idea of putting a cold case team together, said at the time that the team was not 100% certain about Van den Bergh. “There is no smoking gun because betrayal is circumstantial,” he told the Associated Press.
Ronald Leopold, director of the Anne Frank House museum, also called the cold case team’s conclusion “an interesting theory” but added that there were many pieces of the puzzle missing and they needed to be investigated further to validate the theory.
The head of the Central Jewish Board of the Netherlands had also described the findings as “extremely speculative and sensationalist” when the book was published.
To date, there have been many theories trying to explain a Nazi raid in August 1944 that uncovered the Franks’ secret hiding place in an annex to an Amsterdam canal-side house. The family hid there for two years before they were deported to concentration camps.
Anne and her sister Margot were sent to Bergen Belsen, where Anne died when she was only 15. Only her father, Otto Frank, survived the Holocaust. He published her diary after WWII.
Edited by: Elizabeth Grenier