Anne Frank may have been betrayed by Jewish notary
The hiding place of Anne Frank and her family may have been betrayed to the Nazis by a Jewish notary, according to a 6-year-long study of the betrayal using modern techniques. The researchers believe that prominent Amsterdam notary Arnold van den Bergh passed on Jewish families' hiding addresses to the Germans in an attempt to protect his own family, NOS reports.
The researchers stressed that they found no definitive evidence, but Otto Frank seems to have taken the theory seriously. It is primarily based on an anonymous note Otto Frank received shortly after the war. The researchers managed to track down a copy of the note in a police officer's family archive. It read: "Your hiding place in Amsterdam was reported to the Jüdische Auswanderung in Amsterdam, Euterpestraat, by A. van den Bergh, who at the time lived near Vondelpark, O. Nassaulaan. At the J.A. there was a whole list of addresses he passed on."
Previous investigations into the betrayal of the Frank family disregarded the note. "Van den Bergh was a member of the Jewish Council, and he was arrested in September 1943, so then he would have had to pass on everything from a concentration camp in August 1944. That seems unlikely. Until we found out that he was not in a camp at all," journalist Pieter van Twisk, one of the Dutch researchers, said to NOS.
According to the researchers, it turned out that Van den Bergh did everything in his power to keep his family out of the concentration camps. As a prominent member of the Jewish Council, he was given a temporary reprieve from deportation. He also managed to convince German official Calmeyer that he was Jewish while arranging a hiding place for his daughters. "He was simply a very smart man who played it safe. Someone who played three-dimensional chess," Van Twisk said.
In 1944, Van den Bergh ran into trouble. His deportation reprieve expired, and after an argument with an NSB colleague, his Calmeyer status was revoked. The researchers believe that this was the moment Van den Bergh decided to pass on the addresses of Jewish people in hiding to the Germans, including that of the Frank family.
The researchers acknowledge that they don't have conclusive evidence, and there are still many questions. "You would like to know exactly how Van den Bergh did it, and we don't know that. You would, of course, also want to know who wrote that anonymous note, and we don't know that either," Van Twisk said to the broadcaster. "I think there are still more pieces of the puzzle to be found. It would be fantastic if more would surface as a result of this research. Perhaps more people received anonymous notes after the war."
Retired FBI detective Vince Pankoke called this the longest and most complex investigation he's ever been involved in, with a mountain of data, lost records, and deceased witnesses. But he is confident in their conclusion. "This was not a cold case. The case was frozen," he said to NOS. "Because there is no DNA evidence or video images in such an old case, you will always have to rely on circumstantial evidence. Yet our theory has a probability of at least 85 percent. We don't have a smoking gun, but we have a hot weapon with empty casings next to it."