Cold case team shocked by criticism of book on Anne Frank betrayal
The cold case team that investigated the betrayal of Anne Frank said they were shocked by all the criticism of the book, lead researcher Pieter van Twisk said in a lengthy statement on the team's website on Thursday. He discussed point by point the criticism the book received in the past week because of the conclusion that Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh betrayed the Frank family.
According to Van Twisk, Van den Bergh was not designated as the perpetrator in the investigation but "as the main suspect in the most likely scenario." The cold case team's primary defense is that the critics focused too much on the individual evidence. "We often used the metaphor of the puzzle; we collected so many pieces of the puzzle that the image became clearer and clearer (..) What the critics do is take one piece at a time and conclude it is insufficient evidence for our conclusion."
In the book, researchers said that the Amsterdam notary shared a list of hiding places with the German occupier to protect his own family. But several experts and organizations questioned that theory. In the statement, Van Twisk stressed that they don't have any indications that the list exists.
One of the other pieces of evidence is an anonymous note father Otto Frank is said to have received after the war. It stated that Van den Bergh had shared Frank's hiding place and more addresses with the Germans. Critics say that is not enough evidence. However, according to Van Twisk, there is so much essential information on the note that it must have been written "by someone who knew what he or she was talking about."
"The contents of the note, the place and time it was delivered, the many witness statements about the existence of lists of people in hiding, the statements and behavior of Otto Frank and the helpers, the behavior of Van den Bergh and the general context of a country at war, enslaved by an anti-Semitic ideology that excludes, persecutes, and sets people against each other and eventually destroys them, etc., etc. All this together gives a good reason for suspicion."
Van Twisk previously stated that the cold case team did not conduct a historical investigation but a criminal investigation. According to Van Twisk, there is now "a kind of weird smear campaign" around the book. He and his team have "researched in a very honest way for five years and brought up a lot."
The Dutch publisher Ambo Anthos had announced that it would postpone additional printing of the book pending a further explanation from the research team.
Reporting by ANP