NewsWho betrayed Anne Frank? A team of police officers and other experts has once again gone through all the evidence and has identified an Amsterdam notary as the perpetrator.
A six-year investigation of a cold case team, led by a former FBI agent to Anne Frank’s betrayal, sheds new light on the case. Notary Arnold van den Bergh, a member of the controversial Jewish Council, is the traitor to the eight people in hiding in the Secret Annex, according to the team. An anonymous note with his name on it, found in a police investigation from the 1960s, is proof of this, they say.
This is in the book Anne Frank’s Betrayal by Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan, out this Monday. The name of the notary is not new. The man was already on a list of possible traitors.
The cold case team, consisting of police officers, historians and other specialists, consulted dozens of archives, read statements about the raid on the Secret Annex on 4 August 1944 and looked at previous investigations by journalists, historians and biographers and by the Dutch police from the 1960s.
In the case of the son of detective Arend van Helden, who investigated the raid by order of the National Criminal Investigation Department in 1963-1964, the team found papers from the file containing a copy of the anonymous note that Otto Frank received in 1945. Frank had provided Van Helden with the typewritten copy in 1963. The existence of an anonymous note was already known.
The detective had written the text of this note in his report: ‘At the time, your hiding place in Amsterdam was communicated to the Jüdische Auswanderung in Amsterdam, Euterpestraat, by A. Van den Bergh, who at the time lived near the Vondelpark, O. Nassaulaan.’
On the copy Van Helden had made notes about Van den Bergh: ‘Has been a member of the Jewish Council and the Lijnbaansgracht Office.’
Van den Bergh (1886-1950) acted as notary in the forced sale of works of art from the Goudstikker collection to prominent Nazis like Hermann Göring. During the war, the notary received a certificate for himself and his family lock and later he managed to get the so-called Calmeyer status, which eliminated deportation. However, he was later stripped of the special status, which meant that he was no longer considered Jewish.
The team believes there is a good chance that Van den Bergh, who had connections to high-ranking German officials, had access to a list of addresses of Jews in hiding, which he could use as “life insurance” in an emergency. “It is almost certain that the Jewish Council had lists of addresses of Jews in hiding.” Some people in the camps wrote to relatives in hiding via the Jewish Council, stating their addresses in hiding.
The Van den Bergh scenario, the team said, is the only theory ever supported by physical evidence proving the traitor’s name.
A few years after the war, Otto Frank had spoken to the late Parool journalist Friso Endt said that they had been betrayed by Jews. The cold case team discovered that Miep Gies, one of the helpers of the Secret Annex, let slip during a lecture in America in 1994 that the traitor was already dead in 1960.
Frank never mentioned the name Van den Bergh. ‘Perhaps he sensed that Van den Bergh would be a welcome scapegoat for Jew-haters. Wouldn’t he then play into the hands of the many anti-Semites?’ can be read in the book.
Why he kept this note secret and only gave a copy of it to Van Helden in 1963 is a ‘key mystery’, according to the cold case team. “Otto didn’t want to punish the traitor’s family and children. That’s what he said to his cousin Buddy Elias.’
“It is reasonable to assume that the author of the anonymous note is now dead, but there is a possibility that he or she has notified his or her family members,” the team said.
In the afterword, former FBI agent Vince Pankoke writes that he expects people with relevant information to contact the team to provide the missing puzzle pieces. “I sincerely believe that our investigation of the past and our interpretation of it is not a closed exercise.”
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