New book of Anne Frank family’s betrayal ‘full of mistakes’

“There are factual errors on almost every page.”

By Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner

The president of the Anne Frank Fund on Sunday lambasted as “full of mistakes” a new book that named a Jewish notary as the leading suspect behind the Holocaust diarist family’s betrayal to the Nazis.

Anne and her family hid from the Nazis during most of the war, but were captured in August 1944 after being betrayed by a still-unknown informant. They were sent to several concentration camps, and Anne died in Bergen-Belsen shortly before it was liberated by the Allies.

Published last week, the new book — “The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation,” based on an investigation led by a former FBI agent — concluded that Anne Frank’s family was likely to have been betrayed to the Nazis by Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh, who collaborated with the German occupiers.

“It does not contribute to finding the truth, but to confusion and it is also full of mistakes. There are factual errors on almost every page,” said John D. Goldsmith, president of the Anne Frank Fund, founded by the Holocaust diarist’s father Otto Frank, in an interview Sunday with Swiss newspaper Blick am Sonntag.

In a statement prior to the publication of the book, the Basel-based Anne Frank Fund said that the foundation was asked to partake in the investigation, but that its Board of Trustees decided early on not to participate as it “emerged that this was not a classic scientific project.”

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“We were aware of the project. We had hoped for serious and fact-based research. But the way and the methods in which ‘research’ was carried out disappointed us,” Goldsmith lamented. “The Anne Frank Fund in Basel has a fundamental credo: no money is earned on the back of Holocaust victims. This undertaking was always commercial, which worried us from the beginning.”

Goldsmith argued that although historians may have been part of the team of the investigation, the research lacked the involvement of experts on World War II and on the subject of the betrayal of Jews in Holland.

He also raised concerns about the ramifications of the core statement of the book, which says that a Jew betrayed Jews. This, he fears, is what will stick in people’s memory.

“If the story of the betrayal were true, it would be perfectly fine to report on it and gather the evidence. However, the proof has not been produced. Simply to spread an assertion, which then becomes a kind of fact slipping into the public discussion, borders on a conspiracy theory. And conspiracy theories stick for a long time — that we know,” Goldsmith said.

“The collateral damage to the Jewish community is great, and it will take years of educational work to absorb the effects,” he warned.