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

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