search
Phyllis Zimbler Miller
Writer of Nonfiction Holocaust Material to End Antisemitism

Unraveling the Mystery of the Anne Frank Betrayal

Since the January 18 (2022) publication of the book THE BETRAYAL OF ANNE FRANK: AN INVESTIGATION, considerable controversy has been generated around the conclusion – that a fellow Dutch Jew revealed the hiding place of the Frank family to the Nazis.

NEVER AGAIN IS NOW podcast co-host Evelyn Markus – a Dutch Jew and daughter of Holocaust survivors – and I had the privilege on February 1 to interview top Dutch Holocaust historian Professor Johannes Houwink ten Cate about the lack of validity of the book’s findings.

While the above podcast runs longer than our usual podcasts, I highly recommend listening to it as background on this controversy, which has even had a 60 Minutes segment hosted by Jon Wertheim.

First, through our Dutch contacts (NOT from the professor we interviewed) we received a copy of the February 1 letter written by Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, to Brian Murray, president and chief executive officer of HarperCollins Publishers.

The well-reasoned letter (in its entirety below) states in part:

At a time when antisemitism and the denial and distortion of the Holocaust are on the rise, such a potentially incendiary claim would have to be substantiated beyond a reasonable doubt, and following a critical review process by qualified experts before being considered for publication.

And the letter concludes:

Consequently, I would like to urge Harper Collins Publishers to consider removing the book “The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation” from publication, and to distance itself from it controversial historical claims, or at the very least consider suspending further prints of the book until these claims have been substantiated.

The Dutch publication Trouw revealed a new angle to this mystery — one not discussed in the 60 Minutes segment. The February 2 Trouw article by Hella Rottenberg, titled “Cold case team Anne Frank used names of experts without their permission,” begins:

Unbeknownst to them, the names of prominent experts adorned a grant application for The [B]etrayal of Anne Frank. The project management included these experts in the subsidy application to the municipality of Amsterdam, even though they were not part of the research team. In doing so, they emphasized the quality of the project, which is currently under serious fire. The same experts have expressed their doubts about the outcome of the project.

Evelyn Markus joins me in urging people to protest against the shoddy investigative work reported in this book. In the 60 Minutes interview, the retired FBI investigator who led the cold case investigation admits that he could not get a conviction on the evidence his team compiled – there “could be some reasonable doubt,” he said, agreeing with Wertheim that this was a “circumstantial case.”

Complete text of the European Jewish Congress letter to HarperCollins:

Dear Mr. Murray:

I write to you on behalf of the European Jewish Congress to express our concerns about the publication by Harper Collins of the book entitled ‘The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation’ by the author Rosemary Sullivan.

As the umbrella organisation of 42 national Jewish communities across Europe, representing an overwhelming majority of the continent’s Jewish population, including the survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants, we are entrusted with preserving the memory of the six million children, women and men who perished in the darkest chapter of Europe’s history.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the central theory of the book in question is that the notary Arnold van den Bergh, who was Jewish, betrayed those who were hiding in the Secret Annex (Achterhuis) in Amsterdam in 1944, including Anne Frank.

At a time when antisemitism and the denial and distortion of the Holocaust are on the rise, such a potentially incendiary claim would have to be substantiated beyond a reasonable doubt, and following a critical review process by qualified experts before being considered for publication.

However, as academics and experts have pointed out, this has not been the case, and the work in question is largely based on unproven assumptions. For instance, according to Dr Bart Wallet, professor of modern Jewish history at the University of Amsterdam, the book’s argumentation for identifying Mr. Van den Bergh as the culprit is “very unsatisfactory” because “neither knowledge nor motive nor opportunity have been demonstrated.”

The publication of the book has resulted in malicious headlines emphasising Mr. Van den Bergh’s Jewish origins and promoting the insidious narrative that one of the most well-known Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the author of one of its most important accounts had been betrayed by one of her own.

The abovementioned facts have compelled the publisher in the Netherlands, Ambo|Anthos Uitgeverij B.V. to suspend further prints of the book.

Moreover, Ambo|Anthos has stated that it relied on the judgment of Harper Collins Publisher, as the holder of publishing rights worldwide regarding the contents of the book.

In our view, the publication of the book has deeply hurt the memory of Anne Frank, as well as the dignity of the survivors and the victims of the Holocaust, which we are entrusted by our mission to protect.

Consequently, I would like to urge Harper Collins Publishers to consider removing the book ‘The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation’ from publication, and to distance itself from its controversial historical claims, or at the very least consider suspending further prints of the book until these claims have been substantiated.

Sincerely,
Dr Moshe Kantor
President, European Jewish Congress

About the Author
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a Los-Angeles based writer who is the co-author of the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION, the founder of the nonfiction Holocaust theater project www.ThinEdgeOfTheWedge.com and the co-host of the NEVER AGAIN IS NOW podcast about antisemitism -- https://b.link/NeverAgainIsNowpodcast
Related Topics
Related Posts
Comments