Anne Frank may have been betrayed by a Jewish notary | Anne Frank


A Jewish notary has been named by a team of investigators led by a former FBI agent as the prime suspect in the betrayal of Anne Frank and her family to the Nazis.

Arnold van den Bergh, who died in 1950, was charged based on six years of research and an anonymous note received by Anne’s father, Otto Frank, after returning to Amsterdam at the end of the war.

The note claims that Van den Bergh, a member of a Jewish council, an administrative body that the Germans forced the Jews to establish, had given the Frank family hideout along with other addresses used by those in hiding.

He had been motivated by fears for his life and that of his family, it is suggested in a CBS Documentary and the accompanying book, The Betrayal of Anne Frank, by Rosemary Sullivan, based on research collected by retired FBI detective Vince Pankoke and his team.

Pankoke learned that Van den Bergh had managed to get himself categorized as a non-Jew initially, but was later re-designated as a Jew after a business dispute.

It is suggested that Van den Bergh, who acted as a notary in the forced sale of works of art to prominent Nazis such as Hermann Göring, used hiding addresses as a form of life insurance for his family. Neither he nor his daughter were deported to Nazi camps.

Anne Frank hid for two years in a hidden annex above a canal-side warehouse in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam before being discovered on August 4, 1944, along with her father, mother Edith and her sister Margot.

The young columnist was sent to the Westerbork transit camp, then to the Auschwitz concentration camp before finally ending up in Bergen-Belsen, where she died in February 1945 at the age of 15, possibly of typhus. His published diary covers the period in hiding between 1942 and his last entry on August 1, 1944.

Despite a series of investigations, the mystery of who led the Nazis to the annex remains unsolved. It was thought that Otto Frank, who died in 1980, had a strong suspicion about the identity of this person, but he never divulged it in public.

Several years after the war, he told journalist Friso Endt that the family had been betrayed by someone from the Jewish community. The cold case team discovered that Miep Gies, one of those who helped bring the family into the annex, also blurted out during a conference in America in 1994 that the person who had betrayed had died in 1960.

There were two police investigations, in 1947 and 1963, into the circumstances surrounding the Frankish betrayal. The detective’s son, Arend van Helden, who led the second investigation, provided a typed copy of the anonymous note to the cold case reviewers.

The author of the new book, Sullivan, said: “Vanden Bergh was a well-known notary, one of six Jewish notaries in Amsterdam at the time. A notary in the Netherlands is more like a high-profile lawyer. As a notary, he was respected. He worked with a committee to help Jewish refugees, and before the war as they fled Germany.

“The anonymous note did not identify Otto Frank. It said “your address has been betrayed”. So, in effect, what had happened was that Van den Bergh was able to obtain a number of addresses of Jews in hiding. And it was these addresses with no names attached and no guarantees that Jews were still hiding at these addresses. It’s what he gave to save himself, if you will, but to save himself and his family. Personally, I think he is a tragic figure.


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