Anne Frank's Diary - A Hoax?


The Living Force
Source (in Dutch): Historici kraken ook de verdediging van coldcaseteam Anne Frank. ‘Het blijft pure speculatie’

The betrayal of Anne Frank
Historians also crack down on the defense of the Anne Frank cold case team. 'It remains pure speculation'.

The cold case team came up with a defense (Dutch only) Thursday night. Historians are far from convinced. 'On closer analysis, all the arguments collapse.'

Rianne Oosterom
- 4 February 2022, 13:53

The commotion surrounding the book The Betrayal of Anne Frank is beginning to take on the appearance of a soap opera with a new episode every day. After the project leader of the cold case team called the criticism of the conclusion "a witch hunt" in Trouw (in Dutch), the team came up with a substantive reaction on Thursday evening.

In their statement, the authors call it "very clumsy" that they attached the 85 percent probability percentage to the conclusion that the Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh was the most likely betrayer of Anne Frank. This gives the wrong impression that it is a matter of "certainty", they write.

They also maintain their view that Van den Bergh is "the most likely betrayer" and explain why. Does their defense make sense? For publisher Ambo Anthos this defense determines whether they will bring the book back on the market. A spokesperson says that the publisher is currently considering the matter.

The defense dissected on three points:

1) The anonymous note

The physical evidence of the cold case team: the note to Otto Frank on which the name of Arnold van den Bergh was mentioned as a traitor. According to historians, however, the note is "paper-thin", because the sender is unknown. Plus: there were so many accusations going around at the time.

If you wanted to settle an account by (falsely) accusing someone, a note through the letterbox was 'the least effective way', according to the cold case team. It would have been better to go to the political investigation department, they wrote. That this did not happen speaks for the correctness of the note, they say.

"They still don't understand the broader context of the period just after the liberation," reacts professor of Jewish history Bart Wallet. "Countless accusations went around, all kinds of people had scores to settle, they did so in many ways."

The cold case team says the letter writer must have known about the betrayal of the secret annex. It calls the chance that someone with a dislike for Van den Bergh delivered the note to this very address "astronomically small.

But according to Bart Wallet and also historian Bart van den Boom, this does not apply: the only thing the letter writer needed to know is that Otto Frank returned alive and his family did not. And that there had been a raid on the Prinsengracht. Since this was where Otto Frank's business was located, it was not impossible to find out this address.

2) The lists of addresses in hiding

In the theory of the cold case team, Arnold van den Bergh obtained addresses of people in hiding through the Jewish Council (mediating body between the occupier and Jews), of which he was a member. It gives a number of arguments for this in its defense. Wallet: "On closer analysis they all fall down."

Take, for example, the argument that one Rudolf Pollak, a Jew who worked for the Sicherheitsdienst [Security Service] 'had a whole card box of hiding addresses.' The book states that this Pollak was a 'member' of the Jewish Council, but he was only loosely involved, says Sytze van der Zee, on whose book the cold case team based its findings.

Van der Zee: "Pollak bought vegetables for them, for example. That card box is completely different from lists of addresses within the Jewish Council." Wallet notes that there were thousands of employees involved in the Jewish Council, and that Pollak was not one of them according to the archival material.

Building on this, the cold case team in defense says that their book only argues that some individuals involved in the Jewish Council had addresses, not that collecting them was 'policy.' But in the book they say precisely that, says Bart van den Boom, who has been researching the Jewish Council for years.

"Their main argument is the testimony of a German translator who hears a rumor about an official request by the Germans to the Jewish Council to provide lists of people in hiding. On the same page, that rumor has already become fact." They also write later that it is 'almost certain' that the Jewish Council had those addresses.

His assessment: "It remains a completely shaky theory. But apparently they have decided that they will stick to it. They must sincerely believe in it."

3) Arnold van den Bergh going into hiding

It is much more likely, historians said after the book was published, that Arnold van den Bergh went into hiding at the end of the war, rather than trading (the motive according to the cold case team) an address list for the lives of himself and his family. The book says that the team found no evidence of hiding in 1944.

That is one reason why they find him suspicious, they write in the book. But even if there was such evidence, the team believes it does not invalidate their theory. Because it is quite possible that Arnold van den Bergh was put under pressure just before or during his hiding period by a Jew hunter with whom he worked, they say.

Unlikely, Wallet thinks. "That he would give a list and then be left alone would be extraordinarily unique. After all, it was common for Jews who gave addresses of others to have to keep doing so, or they would still be deported. The book remains pure speculation."

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Other coverage:
Cold case team shocked by criticism of book on Anne Frank betrayal
Anne Frank book team stand by conclusions, shocked at level of criticism -

In Dutch:
Kritiek op onderzoek naar verraad Anne Frank is terecht

There are several other Dutch articles available but they were all behind pay-wall, for subscribers only.


The Living Force
Source (Dutch only): Gemeente wil mogelijk subsidie boek Anne Frank terugvorderen

City council may want to reclaim subsidy for book Anne Frank

The Amsterdam city council is going to investigate whether it can reclaim the subsidy for the book The Betrayal of Anne Frank. The amount involved is 100,000 euros. This was stated on Wednesday in a letter from alderman Touria Meliani (Digital City) to the city council.

David Hielkema - 9 February 2022, 17:06

The municipality received a grant application of 100,000 euros in 2017 for the book The Betrayal of Anne Frank. Initiator Pieter van Twisk and Thijs Bayens of the company Proditione Media wrote in the application that "the lauded FBI agent" Vince Pankoke would lead 'a select group of police investigators and leading historians.'

Dutch historians who have made their mark in the field of research on the German occupation would participate. Upon inquiry, it turned out that many researchers were unaware of this, while for the municipality 'authoritative institutions' are an important condition for approval.

Careless and negligent

That the applicants were 'not or hardly involved' in the follow-up of the investigation is 'new information' for the municipality. Alderman Touria Meliani (Digital City) says she is 'shocked' how 'carelessly' and 'negligently' the investigation was done. She also calls the communication of applicants for a grant 'careless to say the least'. Because of the disinformation, the municipality will now look into the possibility of reclaiming the 100,000 euros.

On top of that, Proditione has not yet met the conditions to deliver a database about the research to the municipality. The municipality wants to make this available for possible future research and it was one of the conditions Amsterdam set when approving the grant. Meliani says that discussions about the transfer of the database are still ongoing, though.

Never approached

Gertjan Broek (historical researcher at the Anne Frank House), Hubert Berkhout (NIOD archivist), Guus Meershoek (author of a study on the Amsterdam police during the occupation) and David Barnouw (historian), among others, said they had never been approached to be named under a grant application.

Initiators of The Betrayal of Anne Frank said that it had 'never been a secret' that the research team would apply for a grant with their names underneath. Moreover, their names were added on the research team's website after their consent. Initiator Pieter van Twisk: "They all know they have been on the website. That it now suddenly becomes a problem is really outrageous." There would also never have been a complaint about the use of their names.

Twisk says he understands a possible reclamation of the grant 'not at all.' "It's too crazy for words that the municipality is calling this out now. This is only possible if there is fraud, but there is none here. I do not understand where this vehemence and harshness comes from." He further reveals that it is an intention to 'give the database back to society'. "Although we never specified to whom we would donate the database, we are now thinking of Stadsarchief [City Archive] Amsterdam, NIOD and the National Archives."


In the book, notary Arnold van den Bergh (1886-1950), a member of the Jewish Council, is seen as the one who betrayed the Frank family. After its publication two weeks ago, numerous historians criticized the research for the lack of evidence him being a traitor.

Publishers Ambo/Anthos were also criticized. Unlike German publisher HarperCollins Deutschland, they did not have the book weighed up by experts first. Experts from the Dutch book trade say that this is to be condoned, because the subject matter is so delicate. Publisher Ambo/Anthos has apologized for the book and said that 'a more critical attitude would have been possible.' The book will not be delivered to bookstores for the time being.

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Similar coverage in Dutch: Amsterdam onderzoekt terugvragen bijdrage Anne Frank-onderzoek


The Living Force
Source: Anne Frank investigator defends betrayal book, stands by findings -

Anne Frank investigator defends betrayal book, stands by findings

February 10, 2022

The director of the recent investigation into who betrayed Anne Frank has issued a lengthy rebuttal of the criticisms of the project, saying that while he had expected ‘some pushback on a new theory being presented by outsiders’, the team did not expect the vitriol they have experienced.

Vincent Pankoke, a former FBI agent, led the team investigating the betrayal of Anne and her family in 1943, using cold case methods.

The book has created a furore in the Netherlands, with critics saying the publication is full of mistakes and that the team have boosted anti-Semitism with their theory that a Jewish notary was responsible for passing the addresses of Jews in hiding to the Nazis.

Much of the book hinges on an anonymous note given to Otto Frank shortly after the war which said A. van den Bergh was responsible for the betrayal.

This note and name have been published by other authors when considering their own betrayal theories, Pankoke points out.

‘What the Cold Case Team did was recognise that due diligence in the vetting of the anonymous note writer’s allegation was never performed. One of the primary principles of cold case methodology is that you never accept previous findings, you must question everything,’ he said.

Read the rebuttal [in full]

Pankoke said the effort to solve the mystery was lauded and encouraged when it was initially launched. ‘That support continued right up until the time that the results were found to be something other than what some people wanted to hear,’ he said.

‘Did anyone really think that there would be a celebration for the findings? On the contrary, we became quite sad that this would be our conclusion.

‘Considering this, we tried our best to be respectful and non-judgmental when presenting our theory. We have encouraged people before they begin to judge, to consider “what would they do” if placed into the same, unimaginable position that many, many Jews found themselves in during the Holocaust.’


Critics have also accused the team of adding the names of researchers and historians to the list of participants, even though they were not involved. Pankoke denies this, saying detailed records have been kept of everyone’s involvement.

In the meantime, Amsterdam city council, which pumped €100,000 into the project, has said it intends to try to recuperate the money.

City culture chief Touria Meliani said in a note to councillors (in Dutch) that she has been ‘shocked’ by the lack of care taken in the investigation, and the communication around the grant request.

The Dutch publishers have also put the brakes on the book, pending ‘answers from the investigative team to questions that have arisen’.

Coverage in Dutch:
Amerikaanse teamleider Anne Frank-onderzoek verwerpt kritiek


The American leader of the investigation Vincent Pankoke at the Westerkerk in Amsterdam - Image: Paul Fleming


The Living Force
Source (Dutch only): Kleindochter Joodse notaris voelt zich ‘belazerd’ door coldcaseteam Anne Frank

Notary affair
Granddaughter of Jewish notary feels 'conned' by Anne Frank cold case team


Mirjam de Gorter, the granddaughter of Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh, believes the cold case team
acted carelessly with her - Image Patrick Post

The granddaughter of the Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh was only told a few days before the publication of The Betrayal of Anne Frank that her grandfather was designated as the main suspect. She was also not allowed to see the text about her family beforehand.

Rianne Oosterom - March 18, 2022, 20:00

Mirjam de Gorter, who appears in The Betrayal of Anne Frank under the pseudonym Esther, calls the way in which the international cold case team behind the book dealt with her "careless and unethical. She was only sent a PDF the Saturday before publication. She tells this today in an interview with Trouw [see below].

That her grandfather was one of the suspects, she was told in the second interview with the investigators. "But the cold case team always reassured me that there were several scenarios." She was also not prepared for a major media offensive. In short, she feels "fooled" by the team.

She came out with her story now because a report will be published on Tuesday by renowned Dutch historians in which the theory of the cold case team will once again be undermined. She can't say anything about the content of this report yet, but she can say that she feels supported by it.

Ever since the publication of The Betrayal of Anne Frank, the book has been under fire from experts who believe that the cold case team did not provide sufficient evidence. Because of all the commotion, the Dutch publisher Ambo Anthos decided not to reprint the book for the time being.


De Gorter was told the outcome so late because the investigators of the cold case team 'were also bound by secrecy', says head of the cold case team Pieter van Twisk. He emphasizes that the team was not the first to bring out the name Arnold van den Bergh. "It was already in several publications," he says.

He also says: "We have always felt a great involvement with the position of Mirjam de Gorter, who has made a huge impression on us, precisely because of her steadfastness in wanting to cooperate in this investigation. That she now feels so overwhelmed, we find really very annoying."

De Gorter wants the American main publisher Harper Collins to take the book off the market immediately. The publicity surrounding her grandfather has done a lot of damage, she says. "It really felt like a war machine was coming over us, because the whole world was repeating my grandfather's name," she says.

Translated with (free version)
Similar coverage (in Dutch): Kleindochter Joodse notaris voelt zich 'belazerd' door onderzoeksteam Anne Frank

Source (Dutch only): De kleindochter van de Joodse notaris voelt zich ‘belazerd’ door het coldcaseteam

Interview Mirjam de Gorter
The granddaughter of the Jewish notary feels 'fooled' by the cold case team

For the first time, the granddaughter of the betrayer of Anne Frank identified by the cold case team tells her story. Mirjam de Gorter (62) feels "cheated."

Rianne Oosterom -18 March 2022, 19:27

Mirjam de Gorter and Ilias Frieling, lovers and violin enthusiasts from Haarlem, are just sitting down to a plate of sauerkraut with chicken on Friday evening, January 14, when the phone rings. That the content of this phone call will dominate their lives for the next two months, they cannot imagine at the time.

On the line is Vince Pankoke, a former FBI agent and one of the driving forces behind an international cold case team that has been investigating the betrayal of Anne Frank for years. De Gorter, a professional violin player and teacher in everyday life, spoke with him twice after she was asked to participate by Thijs Bayens, documentary maker and initiator of the project.

Pankoke drops a bombshell. "Your grandfather is the guilty party in the book."

De Gorter: "That's more or less how he put it - 85 percent sure," she says with a smile, referring to the "probability percentage" that the cold case team attached to their conclusion that Arnold van den Bergh must have been the traitor to The Secret Annex.

The team's now heavily criticized theory, which it expounded in The Betrayal of Anne Frank that was to be published the Monday after the phone call, is that Arnold van den Bergh had access to addresses of people in hiding through the Jewish Council, which he traded for the freedom of himself and his family when the situation became dire.

'Anyone would have done so,' Pankoke says on the phone that Friday night, De Gorter explains. She doesn't know what to say back. "We were completely in shock, Ilias and I."

Anonymous message

As the most important piece of evidence, Pankoke mentions the anonymous slip of paper that Otto Frank, Anne's father, supposedly received in the mail after the war, stating that Van den Bergh was the traitor. The team obtained a copy of this and found that this message had been copied with Otto Frank's typewriter.

Until that time, Mirjam de Gorter did not have the idea that her grandfather, whom she herself never knew, would be designated as a suspect, also because she had presented quite a few counterarguments to that effect in her contact with the investigators, she says.

"The cold case team always appeased me that there were several scenarios. They didn't hint at anything like: it could be worse than you think, absolutely nothing."


Portrait of the Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh. He was accused by the cold case team of betraying Anne Frank.

That she is telling her story now for once has to do with a scientific report by a number of renowned historians that will be published next Tuesday, in which even more holes will be shot in the book.

After the publication of The Betrayal of Anne Frank, that book completely dominated her and Ilias' lives. Due to the report that is about to be published, it feels as if there is now 'a sort of safety net' that makes her want to tell her side of the story as well, because a meaningful discussion based on arguments is now possible.

She feels 'really cheated' by the cold case team. She had a lot of faith in Thijs Bayens and Vince Pankoke, with whom she was on friendly terms. She was also reassured by the fact that the team opposite her presented her with 'a selection of renowned researchers'.

Media campaign

Immediately after Pankoke, Thijs Bayens also calls. An international media campaign is going to start after the weekend and there is a press release, whether she wants to take a look at it? She is still dumbfounded. She also has absolutely no idea what's in the book. She says she won't get the PDF until Saturday, when all the journalists have long had it.

That afternoon she crawls behind her laptop and Ilias behind the computer upstairs. She doesn't like what she reads about herself. But there's nothing she can do about it, she knows. This book has already been printed. The cold case team advises her against going public herself, she says. "I didn't want emotion-TV either."

At seven o'clock in the morning on Monday, the news reports pour in. Immediately De Gorter receives phone calls from shocked family members. Some she knows, others not at all yet. "It really felt like a war machine was coming over us, because the whole world was repeating my grandfather's name."

Time to read through the book Miriam and Ilias have barely had at this point. They are not at all prepared for the media offensive, they tell us. "The final blow was the broadcast on the American CBS, where the emphasis was on the Jewish notary who had committed treason - I found it downright anti-Semitic," says De Gorter.

What hurts even more is that Thijs Bayens promised her at the beginning to be 'prudent' with the information about her family that she would provide to the cold case team, she says. But large on CBS's 60 Minutes broadcast, she sees her grandfather's wedding photo again, which she showed to the team. A complete surprise to her, to which she did not give explicit permission.

No swearing

In the week following the book's publication, Thijs Bayens calls her to ask how things are going. "I'm not going to curse then either," says De Gorter. "I'm not like that. But I did say that in the first or second night after the book was launched I dreamed I was floating in space, and crashed."

How did it all come to this? At the dining table in the kitchen, surrounded by her grandfather Arnold van den Bergh's books, thick volumes on etchings and impressionist art - he was an artistic man, she knows from her mother's stories - Miriam de Gorter goes back to 2018, when Thijs Bayens first contacted her.

An email lands in her inbox, a very civilized email, in which Bayens tells about the cold case investigation with a link to the website attached. But, he writes, the investigation "is honestly about much more than the Frank family," including resistance networks and hiding places for Jewish families.

Bayens writes in the email which Trouw accessed that he would like to speak to De Gorter "in light of this search and analysis of resistance and hiding networks. He explicitly mentions that at that time he is researching Jewish people in hiding in the Gooi region and De Gorter knows from the stories that her family was in hiding in Laren. So, after hesitation, she agrees.

Unsuspectingly, actually. De Gorter tells us that Bayens did not mention her grandfather as a potential suspect during that first conversation, but in the chapter 'The Granddaughter' in the book she reads later that Bayens nervously rang her doorbell that first time, because he had just read all kinds of information about the anonymous slip of paper.

She concludes that he deliberately did not bring it up. That is why she is very frank about her family. That makes her feel, to say the least, 'pretty cheated'. In fact, she says, it was just 'false pretenses' under which she was encouraged to have a conversation.

That Arnold van den Bergh is a suspect in the cold case investigation, Mirjam de Gorter learns in 2019 in a staged 'confrontation' in the team's recording studio. Initially, the team wants to make a film, only to turn it into a book later. De Gorter has to redo the encounter with Vince Pankoke on camera as many as ten times.

"I thought it was a nice joke. 'Hi, nice to meet you' is what it sounded like repeatedly. With one of those stupid smoke devices in the background. How funny, I thought. I totally didn't realize the impact of what was about to happen," she says. Because suddenly the anonymous message to Otto Frank is shoved under her nose, with her grandfather's name as traitor.

In shock

"It was dead quiet in that recording studio," she says. "I could hear everyone breathing. I don't even remember how I reacted, I was in shock. I couldn't say: no, that's not my grandfather, you know. I couldn't start screaming either. So I just asked: 'how did you get this, what does this mean?' They didn't want to give any information or say anything else about it."

She was reassured though, she says. "'We still have a lot of other lines,' they said."

Once home, Miriam and Ilias dive into history. They search for what literature can be found about Arnold van den Bergh. They stumble upon a 1960s police investigation into the note, which concluded that Arnold van den Bergh could not have done it because he was a man of integrity.

De Gorter also knows from her mother that her grandfather went into hiding in Laren after the war, having received a tip that he would be arrested. Surely, she and Ilias thought, this also made it extremely unlikely that he had traded hiding addresses for his own and his family's safety?

They throw that and other facts at Vince Pankoke in a follow-up interview they requested themselves, because they had become a bit worried after all. "He just waved it away," says De Gorter. "We had no proof. Neither did he, but he did assume his own truth. He appeased me again: there are still many scenarios."

Until she is confronted with a fait accompli on that Friday evening. The Saturday before publication she discovered that there were mistakes in the book. It says, for example, that she was reluctant to cooperate 'because her grandfather was a member of the much maligned Jewish Council.' "That's not how I saw it or thought it," she says.

More things have been twisted "like a picture hanging askew," she says, but the strangest thing she finds is a passage about her grandmother, Arnold van den Bergh's wife, who allegedly said that until long after the notary's death she had received "personal anonymous invective phone calls about the Jewish Council."

"Well, I don't know anything about that, that's not from me," says De Gorter. In retrospect, she finds it "careless and unethical" that she was not allowed to read the text beforehand, even though she had asked for it, as well as for the TV recordings.

A real chess player

Miriam and Iliad are emphatically not only concerned with what happened to them after the book was published. "It goes much further," says De Gorter. "My grandfather is portrayed in the book as a rich, cunning man, a real chess player. That's just the confirmation of the time-honored stigma on the Jew, which is so terribly damaging."

Her friend Ilias Frieling adds, anticipating the report to be released on Tuesday, "A book has been put out into the world with the use of Anne Frank's name that misrepresents and does serious damage. There is much more going on here than just a lie regarding a person who is no longer alive."

De Gorter: "That is why we want the book to be taken out of circulation worldwide as soon as possible. So what does this disreputable historical research contribute to? I hope that the report next week is a signal to Harper Collins (international publisher, ed.). So that this does not pass with impunity, uncritically."

Reaction of the cold case team

The chairman of the cold case team, Pieter van Twisk, says that it is true that Mirjam de Gorter only heard on Friday that her grandfather was designated as the main suspect and that she was only allowed to inspect the book on Saturday. The reason for this, he says, was that members of the cold case team 'were also bound by secrecy'.

Van Twisk disputes that the team advised De Gorter not to appear in the media. She would have indicated that herself. About the passage about the phone calls about the Jewish Council, he says that she did tell this in a conversation with Thijs Bayens on March 15, 2018. Because Bayens referred in his first email to the site of the cold case team, he also does not believe that De Gorter was approached under false pretenses to participate in the investigation.

That De Gorter felt overwhelmed by the fact that her grandfather was the main suspect, the team regrets. "We have always felt a great involvement with the position of Mirjam de Gorter, who has made a big impression on us, precisely because of her steadfastness in wanting to cooperate in this investigation. That she now feels this way is really very unfortunate."

Van Twist: 'Although we thought that the results would cause a commotion, we did not foresee how intense and toxic they would be in the Netherlands.' The current tendency to doubt the research must be very confusing for Mirjam de Gorter, says Van Twisk.

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The Living Force
Source: Book on Anne Frank betrayer withdrawn after historians publish rebuttal -

Book on Anne Frank betrayer withdrawn after historians publish rebuttal

March 22, 2022 - By Senay Boztas

The Dutch publisher of a controversial book on the betrayal of Anne Frank has withdrawn the book, after a detailed rebuttal by a team of historical experts.

Ambo Anthos publishers apologized in English and Dutch and said that ‘based on the conclusions of this report, we have decided that effective immediately, the book will no longer be available’, and bookstores should return their stock.

Meanwhile the granddaughter of Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh, who was accused by a ‘cold case team’ and author Rosemary Sullivan of betraying Anne Frank, called on Harper-Collins to stop global publication.

At a presentation in Amsterdam on Tuesday evening, given in English for the attention of a worldwide audience, eminent historians refuted the claim that Van den Bergh betrayed Anne Frank’s family as well as other Jewish people in hiding.


They have published a peer-reviewed report (PDF-file in English; 69 pages) criticizing the argumentation and use of historical sources by a ‘cold case’ team that took six years, artificial intelligence, public subsidy (in Dutch) and the help of a retired FBI detective to reach its conclusion.

The historians claim there is no credible evidence that there were lists of addresses of Jewish people in hiding, give evidence that months before the raid on the secret annex, Van den Bergh had gone into hiding in Laren, and say an anonymous note accusing him contains factual inaccuracies and is unreliable.

Mirjam de Gorter, granddaughter of Van den Bergh, addressed the Canadian book author and publisher directly, saying her own story had been ‘distorted’, interviews with her requested ‘under false pretenses’ and accusing the cold case team of displaying ‘a profoundly immoral way of thinking’.


‘I would like to make an urgent appeal to the American publisher Harper-Collins, to all other publishers involved and to any potential filmmakers,’ she said. ‘Take the book out of circulation, refrain from making films of television series with this story as their subject. With this story, you are exploiting the story of Anne Frank, you are falsifying history and you are contributing to great injustice.’

She particularly objected to the way an interview with her was used late in the book in presenting the judgement that Van den Bergh was the accuser [betrayer], and that she had no chance to read what was written about her and her family in advance.

‘Without such a plot, with a Jewish man as the betrayer of Anne Frank, nobody would have been interested,’ she claimed. ‘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.’


Since the book was published in January, there has been a storm of criticism from historians. Family members have also expressed their criticism and distress (both references in Dutch).

Ruben Vis, general secretary of the Organization of Jewish Communities in the Netherlands (Nik) claimed that the book’s ‘abhorrent’ conclusions had caused ‘colossal’ damage in terms of antisemitism and to Holocaust survivors.

Hanco Jürgens, moderator of the presentation, called on the cold case team to look at the new historical report and then revise its conclusions. ‘Tonight a respected Dutch publishing house Ambo Anthos decided to withdraw the book and stop publishing it in the Netherlands,’ he said. ‘We all hope that Harper-Collins will do the same.’

The cold case team has since January defended its conclusions, saying that the criticisms have felt like a ‘witch hunt’.

Similar coverage: Family calls for global recall after Dutch publisher pulls book on Anne Frank betrayal

The refutation - in English (69 pages):
The refutation - in Dutch (72 pages):

Other coverage in Dutch:
„Coldcase-onderzoek Anne Frank kan prullenbak in”

Nieuw onderzoek betwist verraad Anne Frank door Amsterdamse notaris
Boek over verraad Anne Frank uit de handel na kritisch tegenonderzoek

'Tunnelvisie' leidde tot claim dat Joodse notaris Anne Frank verraadde
Uitgever haalt omstreden boek over verraad Anne Frank uit handel


The Living Force
Source (Dutch only): Amerikaanse uitgever laat boek over verraad Anne Frank in handel

American publisher keeps book on Anne Frank's betrayal on the market
ANP - 2 hours ago

AMSTERDAM (ANP) - The American publisher Harper-Collins Publishers is not withdrawing the book about the betrayal of Anne Frank. This was announced by a spokesperson when asked, two days after historians published a critical analysis in which they rejected the theory that the Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh was the suspected betrayer of the Frank family.

After this analysis was released, the Dutch publisher Ambo Anthos decided to immediately withdraw the book of Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan from the market. In a statement, the American publisher, which holds the world rights to the book, said it would not follow the Dutch publisher's example. "While we acknowledge that there has been some criticism of the findings, the research was done with respect and the utmost care for an extremely sensitive subject," said a Harper-Collins spokesperson.

The controversial book is about the investigation of a cold case team that identified Van den Bergh as the likely betrayer of the Frank family during World War II. The historians call the investigation "amateurish" and argue that it is based on faulty sources. The researchers are also said to have suffered from tunnel vision.

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The Living Force
Source: 75th anniversary of Anne Frank diary commemorated in Amsterdam

Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 16:20
75th anniversary of Anne Frank diary commemorated in Amsterdam

Saturday marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of "Het Achterhuis," or "Tales from the Secret Annex," based on the diary entries of the Jewish girl Anne Frank about her time in hiding during World War II. Anne's father, Otto Frank, the sole survivor of the family, had his daughter's notes published in a novel on June 25, 1947. The Anne Frank Foundation is commemorating the anniversary.

In honor of the anniversary, author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, winner of the International Booker Prize 2020, has written a poem that can be read on the website of the Anne Frank House. There you can also read reactions that Otto Frank received from the very first recipients of the book, such as people who knew his daughters Anne and Margot, the then-Minister of the Arts Gerrit Bolkestein and the then-Princess Juliana. A temporary exhibition about the creation and development of the book can be seen in the Anne Frank House.

Anne wrote the diaries between June 14, 1942 and Aug. 1, 1944, when she was in hiding on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. She died in 1945, along with her sister Margot, from typhoid fever in concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. She was 16 years old. Her father found the diaries after the war and on the advice of friends he had the letters [i.e. diary entries] expanded.

Anne came up with the title "Het Achterhuis" herself. She wanted to become a journalist and later a famous writer. "Whether I will ever be able to carry out these grandiose (mad!) tendencies remains to be seen, but I still have subjects up to now," Anne wrote in 1944. In the first edition of "Het Achterhuis," 3,036 copies were made. The book has been published in more than 70 languages and more than 35 million copies have been made over the years, according to the foundation.

Reporting by ANP


The Living Force
Source (Dutch only): „Fout notaris misleidde coldcaseteam Anne Frank”

"Erroneous notary misled Anne Frank cold case team"
Hilbrand Rozema, RD - 19 Aug 2022 15:14


The cold-case investigation, which caused much controversy this spring, leans heavily on the claims of a "deeply disturbed man," a collaborator and NSB [Dutch National-Socialist Movement] member: Anton Schepers. This candidate notary coveted the notary practice of Arnold van den Bergh, the man who, according to the cold case team, most likely betrayed Anne Frank.

Researcher Natasha Gerson is an expert on the "persecution logistics" of the Holocaust. She cooperated with a former notary who wishes to remain anonymous (name known to RD editors). Gerson is active as a fact checker and archival researcher and as a columnist for Jonet, a news and background site for the Jewish community. The cold case team blindly adopted Schepers's fantasies, she concludes in her report. Earlier, the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam had already stated that there was too little evidence to point to Van den Bergh as the perpetrator.

That's exactly what happened this spring: the Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh was thought to be the betrayer, to the shock of his grandchildren. Many media went along with that scenario. But there was also criticism: the investigation was flawed on all sides, according to experts of Jewish Netherlands and the occupation, including historian Bart Wallet. They came up with a thorough counter-research.

Dutch publisher AmboAnthos subsequently withdrew the book from the market. It is not clear whether the German edition will still be released. Elsewhere, "The Betrayal of Anne Frank" is still widely sold by the American HarperCollins. CBS News made a 60 Minutes episode about it.


Tunnel vision? Misinterpretations? That's still far too mild a wording, says Gerson. "This is what I call deception. They rely on Schepers' conspiracy writings. This candidate notary was an obsessive maniac. He preyed on Van den Bergh's practice, but was himself convicted as a collaborator. That he was mentally unhinged was known long before the occupation."

After Schepers took over Van den Bergh's practice and thus became a notary, several hefty disciplinary complaints and reprimands followed even before the Liberation, says Gerson. "After the war, he appeared before a tribunal, because of the extradition of Van den Bergh to the enemy. He received four years of internment, his right to vote was taken away from him, and he was expelled from the notary profession. A man who showed no progressing discernment whatsoever. Two prominent psychiatrists diagnosed his psychiatric problems, one already before the war, one after. His reputation was already known when he took office. Had it not been for the [German] occupation, he could never have become a notary."

According to Gerson, there are strong indications that Schepers is the author of the anonymous letter that was addressed to Otto Frank, Anne's father. In that letter, Van den Bergh was accused. "The cold case team placed the moment of receipt of the letter by Otto Frank in 1945, instead of 1957 or 1958. To do so, the cold case team falsified Otto Frank's diary and changed a crucial passage in another letter to build the whole story." Schepers was the only one at that time who had any interest in incriminating the already deceased Van den Bergh.

Family background

"There are parallels between my background and the Franks," she says. "My grandfather came from the Ruhr-area to the Netherlands in 1933. He and other family members managed to do so because he had relatives in Hattem. These relatives were betrayed in hiding. Two of them, Ursula and Julia Gerson, were on the same deportation train as the Franks.

I always heard older people in our family speak a Dutch-German mixed language. So when Otto Frank writes "ab" in his diary, I immediately understand that it's not about a secret appointment with someone named Ab, as the cold case team thinks, no, he means the German preposition "after" or "from". Even such small things show how little the cold case team understands.

I am not only concerned with the notary. The book also accuses other Holocaust victims without relatives who can defend their good name, as the grandchildren of Van den Bergh still can. For example, the Weisz family is said to have shared information about other Jews.

The book eventually even suggests that just about everyone in those last transports owed their postponement of departure to bribes or the sharing of information about other Jews. These are lies, here people are being accused of betrayal. And that more than once. I show that for this purpose archival material has been deliberately distorted."


The new accusations and questioning of their approach and integrity come as a blow to Florida's U.S. cold case team leader Vince Pankoke (65). "I have a thick skin, but find it difficult that we are accused in the media of antisemitism, conspiracy theories and greed for money. That doesn't match me at all; on the contrary, I am fully committed to Holocaust education among young people."

Pankoke acknowledges that Dutch source material is occasionally mistranslated. And what about the suggestion that many Jews who were still in Westerbork [Dutch transition camp] at the end of the war owed it to their bad behavior, i.e. to betrayal? "I don't want to take that one on board. That is the interpretation of the author of the book on our research."

He is referring to Rosemary Sullivan, the author of "The Betrayal of Anne Frank." "As a team, we did five years of research; relying solely on the contents of Sullivan's book is a mistake," he says. "But what else should we rely on?" responds Gerson. "The entire research so far has only been presented in this one book," she says.

"In the fall, we will come up with a thorough rebuttal," announces Pankoke. "Cold case work is really quite different from ordinary historiography," the former FBI agent believes. "It is normal in a cold case that you want to fill in a theory about how it could have occurred, as much as possible. But we are not saying that it was necessarily Van den Bergh. That possible scenario was not thought up by us either, it was first suggested by a detective in the 1960s."

However, the back cover of the English edition does state that the team has "finally solved the mystery."

So was there not any tunnel vision at all? "No, on the contrary: we actually ran down dozens of other suspects first; we managed to rule out twenty-five of the thirty."

Clearing names

Natasha Gerson calls the use of sources more than incomprehensibly sloppy. "If all your errors are in favor of your theory, then it's no longer a coincidence. The picture emerges of a bunch of snooty incompetents who couldn't handle and didn't understand the subject matter, and therefore went ahead and cheated. On balance, the book is nothing more than the recycled slander of a seriously confused person."

She is determined to clear the name of Van den Bergh, the Weisz family and others. "Also for many other individuals, who do not like to seek publicity, but who are shocked at how the cold case team has distorted their contributions."


Professor Bart Wallet of the University of Amsterdam, who collaborated on the first counter-investigation, praised Gerson's work. "Her big find is Schepers' key role in advancing the theory in the book "The Betrayal." This person even believed that the war had lasted longer on account of Van den Bergh's actions. An obvious indication that Schepers cannot be taken seriously. Yet the cold case team did not do anything else but that."

The question is: did that happen deliberately or not? "In our own counter-investigation we deliberately stayed away from that question. We looked purely at the sources and archives. Intent is difficult to prove, in my opinion. In any case, it is highly regrettable that the team persists despite all the counter-evidence, which is all the more overwhelming thanks to Gerson's detective work."

Translated with (free version)
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