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The Cold Case team sheds new light on Anne Frank’s betrayal

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The Cold Case team sheds new light on Anne Frank’s betrayal

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AMSTERDAM — A cold case team that combed through evidence for five years in an effort to unravel one of World War II’s lingering mysteries has reached what it calls the “most likely scenario” of who betrayed Jewish teenage columnist Anne Frank and her family.

Their answer, described in a new book called “The Betrayal of Anne Frank A Cold Case Investigation”, by Canadian scholar and author Rosemary Sullivan, is that it could have been a prominent Jewish notary called Arnold van den Bergh, who divulged the secret annex. Frank family hideout from the German occupiers to save his own family from deportation and murder in Nazi concentration camps.

“We investigated over 30 suspects in 20 different scenarios, leaving one scenario that we like to call the most likely scenario,” said filmmaker Thijs Bayens, who came up with the idea for the cold case team, run by the retired FBI. Agent Vincent Pankoke, to examine the evidence forensically.

Bayens was quick to add that “we don’t have 100% certainty.”

“There is no absolute proof because the betrayal is circumstantial,” Bayens told The Associated Press on Monday.

The Franks and four other Jews hid in the annex, accessible by a secret staircase hidden behind a bookcase, from July 1942 until they were discovered in August 1944 and deported to concentration camps.

Only Anne’s father, Otto Frank, survived the war. Anne and her sister died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Anne was 15 years old.

The diary Anne wrote while in hiding was published after the war and has become a symbol of hope and resilience that has been translated into dozens of languages ​​and read by millions.

But the identity of the person who revealed the location of his hiding place has always remained a mystery, despite previous investigations.

The team’s findings suggest that Otto Frank was one of the first to hear about the possible involvement of Van den Bergh, a prominent member of Amsterdam’s Jewish community.

A brief note, a typed copy of an anonymous tip-off given to Otto Frank after the war, names Van den Bergh, who died in 1950, as the person who informed German authorities in Amsterdam where to find the Frank family, according to researchers.

The note was an overlooked part of a decades-old Amsterdam police investigation that was vetted by the team, which used artificial intelligence to analyze and link records from around the world.

The Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam’s canal-side building that includes the secret annex welcomed the new research, but said it also left questions unanswered. The museum gave researchers access to its archives for the cold case project.

“No, I don’t think you can say a mystery has been solved now. I think it’s an interesting theory that the team has come up with,” said museum director Ronald Leopold. “I think they offer a lot of interesting information, but I also think there are still a lot of pieces of the puzzle missing. And those pieces need to be investigated further to see how we can add value to this new theory.

Bayens said the traitor hunt was also a way to seek an explanation for how the horror of the Nazi occupation forced some members of a once tight-knit community in Amsterdam to turn on each other. .

How did fascism get people “to the desperate point of betraying themselves, which is a horrible, really horrible situation?” he said.

“We went looking for an attacker and we found a victim,” Bayens said.

The Cold Case team sheds new light on Anne Frank’s betrayal

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