May 21, 2022 9:07 pm

Who betrayed Anne Frank? A book reveals one of the great mysteries of World War II

ROME.- Who betrayed Ana Frank, the author of the famous diary that reflects the horror of the Holocaust?

After years of research, a book revealed that the informer of the secret hiding place of the German girl and her family was a Jewish scribe named Arnold van den Bergh. It was because of her that on August 4, 1944, the Nazis discovered Anne and seven other Jews – her sister Margot, her parents Otto and Edith, her friends Herman van Pels, with his wife Auguste and son Peter and Dr. Firedrich Pfeffer. – in a secret apartment located in a building that stood on the edge of an Amsterdam canal. They were all deported and Ana died in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp at the age of fifteen.

The only survivor was his father Otto Frank, that after reading the diary written by her daughter during the two years she had lived in hiding, she decided to publish them so that the world would know the horror. At the same time, Otto began to wonder who had reported them to the German police who, on August 4, 1994, at about 10:30 a.m., arrived at the building at 263 Prinsengratch, headquarters of the Opekta Pectacon company, and discovered them in their accommodation. from the back of the top floor.

Until now it was not known who had betrayed the Frank

“The police wanted to see the premises on the side of the street and I opened the doors. I thought ‘if they don’t want to see anything else, that’s fine’. But then the sergeant major came out into the corridor and ordered me to follow him. And suddenly, he ordered me to move the shelf from the wall and open the door behind it,” said Victor Kugler (called Kraler in Anne Frank’s diary), as can be read in the Canadian poet’s book Rosemary Sullivan, titled Who has betrayed Anne Frank, investigation into an unsolved case, which will be released in Italy this Thursday, edited by Harper Collins.

As anticipated today Corriere della Sera In a cover story, after a unique investigation, which lasted five years, Collins managed to answer one of the great mysteries of World War II. It did so thanks to modern investigation techniques that included experts in Artificial Intelligence and a team made up of dozens of researchers, archivists, forensic analysts, historians and criminologists who put thousands of documents, largely unpublished, under the microscope and interviewed the descendants of everyone who knew the Frank family.

Coordinated by Vince Pankoke, a retired former FBI agent, in 2019 the team concluded that there were clues leading to four possible informers: Ans von Dijk, a woman who had betrayed around two hundred people and who worked near the hideout; the sister of Bep Voskuijl, one of Otto Frank’s secretaries, a Nazi sympathizer; the greengrocer Hendrik Van Hoeve, who used to distribute merchandise to the employees of the Opetka company and who could assume that there were more people living there hidden; as well as Richard and Ruth Weisz, who had been hiding for months in the greengrocer’s house, and who, when they were arrested in June 1944, obtained an improvement in their criminal position.

But he also concluded that there was not enough evidence to think that it was them. Therefore, among the suspects there remained only the Jewish scribe Arnold van den Bergh, a track never explored until now. Although in 1946 Otto Frank had received an anonymous letter in which the name of this lawyer was mentioned, who died in 1950. Although the original of that letter was lost, its copy was found in the city archives.

Married with three daughters, van den Bergh he had been a member of the Jewish Council of Amsterdam which, by order of the Nazis, had to select the names of Jews to put on the deportation lists. Born in 1886, rich, respected and highly influential, Van der Bergh had managed to continue working despite the Nazi decree that forced Dutch Jews to give up their activity, after falsely declaring that he was not Jewish, with the help of a German acquaintance.

Otto Frank decided to publish the diary written by his daughter during the two years she lived in hiding
Otto Frank decided to publish the diary written by his daughter during the two years she lived in hiding

But in January 1943 an Arian colleague destined to occupy his studio denounced him to the Nazis and made him lose his privileges. A year later, being informed by his same German acquaintance that he could be arrested along with his family, after having managed to save his daughters thanks to contacts who were active in the Resistance, As a bargaining chip to save himself, he offered the German police a series of addresses of Jews who were in hiding, unaware that the Franks were at 263 Prinsengracht.

Written like a novel, Sullivan’s book does not condemn the traitorous clerk, but treats him with mercy, given the context of Nazi horror, an evil that was contagious.

“It is naive, absurd and historically false to consider that a demonic system, such as national socialism, sanctifies its victims: on the contrary, it degrades them, dirties them, assimilates them,” said the Italian writer and Holocaust survivor. , Primo Levi, as recalled by the Corriere della Sera.

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