German publisher wants to review 'The Betrayal of Anne Frank' – DW (English)

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The move comes after heavy criticism against claims made in the book based on a long investigation into Anne Frank’s alleged betrayer.

Despite a six-year investigation, the person who betrayed Anne Frank may never be known
“The Betrayal of Anne Frank” was a publishing sensation when released in several languages on January 18, the non-fiction book’s premise the result of a six-year cold case investigation to uncover who gave away the Frank family during the Holocaust.
But now Jürgen Welte, the publisher of Harper Collins Germany that planned to publish the German language version of the book on March 22, wants to review the work’s controversial allegations. Aware of the risks of publishing the accusation that the Jewish-Dutch notary Arnold van den Bergh betrayed Anne Frank and her family to the Gestapo, he announced in a written statement: “After two professional edits of the manuscript, we are currently undergoing an internal review. The comparatively late publication date of the German-language edition shows that we are handling this sensitive topic extremely responsibly.”
When asked by DW, a press spokeswoman for Harper Collins Germany, the German branch of the international publishing house of the same name, said she could not yet comment on whether the release date would be postponed or the publication cancelled. The publisher also declined to comment on DW’s query on how long the internal review would take.
The Franks hid in a secret annex in a canal-side warehouse in Amsterdam for about two years, but were ultimately found by the Gestapo in August 1944. The Nazis then deported the entire Frank family to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Anne Frank — who died aged 15 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she had been transferred along with her sister — wrote her world-renowned diary while living in hiding in Amsterdam. This diary was later published by her father Otto Frank in 1947, and is one of the foremost accounts of Jewish life under the Nazis.  
In January, an investigation team looking for the origins of the betrayal named a Jewish-Dutch man, Arnold van den Bergh, as the person who reported the Frank family’s whereabouts to the Nazis.
Van den Bergh, a legal notary in Amsterdam, allegedly handed over a list of hiding places of Jews in Amsterdam to the German occupiers in order to save his own family. Among them was the address of the back house on Prinsengracht in Amsterdam where Anne Frank was staying.
But now that theory is under question, causing the German publisher to review the claims made in “The Betrayal of Anne Frank,” and its Dutch publisher to cease printing the book.
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
Though the cold case investigators included former US FBI agent Vincent Pankoke and about 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists, some have questioned the evidence, which amounts to a single anonymous letter. Received by Otto Frank, it pointed out Van den Bergh as a member of the Jewish Council who was given preferential treatment by the Nazis for giving away the hiding places of fellow Jews.
Johannes Houwink ten Cate, a professor of Holocaust and genocide studies in Amsterdam, told the Dutch daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad that there is no evidence that the Jewish Council drew up lists of addresses of hiding places for Jews during World War II.
“I have never seen anything of that in 35 years of research,” he said. Major accusations require a lot of evidence, Houwink ten Cate said, “and there is none.” He added that van den Bergh himself had been in hiding for much of 1944.  
John Goldsmith, the head of the Anne Frank Fund established by Otto Frank, told the Swiss newspaper Blick am Sonntag that the investigation was “full of errors” and akin to a “conspiracy theory.”
Amsterdam historian Ben Wallet told the German news magazine Der Spiegel that the investigators’ evidence was “as shaky as a house of cards.”
Bart van der Boom of Leiden University called the findings “slanderous nonsense.”
According to an internal email seen by Reuters new agency, Ambo Anthos, the publisher of the Dutch-language edition of “The Betrayal of Anne Frank,” has now written to the book’s Canadian author, Rosemary Sullivan, as well as the investigation team to say the house should have taken a more “critical stance” on the publication.
“We await the answers from the researchers to the questions that have emerged and are delaying the decision to print another run,” the email stated. “We offer our sincere apologies to anyone who might feel offended by the book.”
One of the investigators quoted in the book, Pieter van Twisk, told Reuters that he was “completely surprised” by the email sent to the research team.
Pankoke, who was instrumental to the investigation, had previously acknowledged that there was no absolute certainty about the betrayal 77 years after the end of the war. “But our theory has a probability of more than 85 percent,” he told Germany’s public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk in an interview.
Goldsmith continues to question the findings. “Now, the main statement is: A Jew betrayed Jews,” he said. “That stays in the memory and it is unsettling.”
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
Edited by: Brenda Haas
The Jewish girl who became posthumously famous with her diary also hoped to publish a novel. The unfinished work of the Holocaust victim — who would have turned 90 on June 12 — has been released in German.  
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