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August 23, 2022 12:52 pm
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New Report Claims Book About Jewish Notary Who Betrayed Anne Frank’s Family Is ‘Disgracefully Untrue’

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Photos of Anne Frank are seen at the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam. Photo: Reuters/Eva Plevier

A new report claims a book that names a Jewish notary as the leading suspect who betrayed Holocaust diarist Anne Frank and her family to the Nazis is full of mistakes and “manipulations in the provided evidence.”

“The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation,” published in January by Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan, concluded that the Frank family and other Jews hiding with them were likely to have been betrayed to the Nazis by Dutch Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh.

But this month, Dutch publicist Natasha Gerson published a report on Jonet.nl — a platform dedicated to the Jewish community in the Netherlands — concluding that Sullivan’s book is no more “than a scam well played” and listing a number of major misrepresentations, including mistranslations which had allegedly incriminated Van den Bergh as a traitor to the Frank family.

Sullivan was not available for comment as of Tuesday afternoon.

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The Frank family hid from the Nazis in a secret annex in Amsterdam with other Jews during most of the war, but they were arrested in August 1944 by an SS officer who was tipped off about the hiding place. They were sent to several concentration camps and the young diarist died in Bergen-Belsen.

Gerson claims she debunked a claim in the book that Frank’s father, Otto Frank, received an anonymous note implicating Van den Bergh in the betrayal of his family and that he covered it up because the notary was a fellow Jew.

Sullivan also claimed in her book that Van den Bergh had contacts among the Nazi authorities in Amsterdam and enjoyed “the (indirect) protection” of two Nazi SS officers. However, both SS officers, who were sentenced to life imprisonment, testified in 1963-64 that they did not know the Jewish notary, Gerson argued.

“It is hard to believe that two main culprits to the mass deportations would not have known about lists that concerned up to ‘a thousand’ people,” Gerson wrote, citing Sullivan’s book. She added, “The statement is hearsay upon hearsay, and no-one ever took it seriously to follow up on before.”

“Even if there had been lists of hiding addresses, of which there is zero evidence, it is highly unlikely that the Prinsengracht 263 [the address where the Frank family hid] would have been on them as the hidden and their helpers had very little outside help, no connection to organized resistance and there is no indication, let alone evidence there were Jews … who knew where they were,” she said. “Quoting the blurb on the back of [Sullivan’s] book: ‘An international team has finally solved the mystery that has haunted generations since the end of the Second Word War’ is disgracefully untrue.”

The German translation of Sullivan’s book, which received criticism when it was first released, is on hold and “there are currently no plans” to publish the book in the country, a spokeswomen for HarperCollins told the German publication WELT. The Dutch translation was taken off the shelves by its publisher in the country after two months. The English, French, Spanish and Polish editions continue to be sold, according to Gerson’s report.

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