Anne Frank was betrayed to the Nazis by a Jewish local, research team finds

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Anne Frank was betrayed to the Nazis by a Jewish local, research team finds

A six-year investigation by a team including historians and criminologists identifies Arnold van den Bergh as the surprise suspect

Michael Daventry is Jewish News’s foreign and broadcast editor

Anne Frank
Anne Frank

Anne Frank was most likely betrayed by a Jewish man trying to protect his own family, according to the results of a six-year investigation that will be published this week.

Amsterdam notary Arnold van den Bergh was the surprise suspect identified at the end of the probe involving a team of historians, criminologists and a retired FBI agent.

They concluded it was “very likely” that van den Bergh gave the Frank family up in order to save his own, even though he had a daughter that was Anne’s age.

Pieter van Twisk, a member of the research team, told Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad that he was “very likely” to have ultimately betrayed them, although he admitted the evidence they had compiled would not be sufficient for a court hearing.

But the attempt to identify the betrayer was not intended to lead to prosecution, but to solve one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in the Netherlands of the Second World War.

Using Big Data research techniques, a master database was compiled with lists of Nazi collaborators, informants, historic documents, police records and prior research to uncover new leads.

Dozens of scenarios and locations of suspects were visualised on a map to identify a betrayer, based on knowledge of the hiding place, motive and opportunity.

Van den Bergh – who had one Jewish parent – was a member of the Jewish Council, the body set up by Nazi occupiers to organise the transportation of Jews to death camps.

He survived the war and died of throat cancer in 1950.

Some people with Jewish roots were exempted from deportation if they provided assistance.

NRC reported Van den Bergh was becoming increasingly desperate because he had briefly succeeded in removing references to his Jewish heritage from his identity papers.

But the “J” mark for Jewish was reinstated following objections from a fellow civil law notary, who was angry with him.

The findings of the new research will be published in a book by Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan, The Betrayal of Anne Frank, which will be released on Tuesday.

Anne was discovered on August 4, 1944, after two years in hiding. Miep Gies, one of the family´s helpers, kept Anne´s diary safe until it was published by Anne´s father, Otto, in 1947, two years after Anne died in the Bergen Belsen camp aged 15.

The book has captivated the imagination of millions of readers worldwide and been translated into 60 languages.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: