Head of fund created by Anne Frank's father criticizes cold-case probe

Some experts have emphasized that the evidence against Van den Bergh was not conclusive.

Anne Frank at her writing table in 1940; how many Anne Franks were lost in the Holocaust? (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Anne Frank at her writing table in 1940; how many Anne Franks were lost in the Holocaust?
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The head of a foundation set up by Anne Frank's father has criticized an investigation into her betrayal to the Nazis that named a Jewish notary as a leading suspect, saying it was "full of errors" and offered no proof, a Swiss newspaper reported.

Anne and seven other Jews were discovered by the Nazis on August 4, 1944, after hiding for nearly two years in a secret annex above a canal-side warehouse in Amsterdam. All were deported and Anne died in the Bergen Belsen camp at the age of 15. Her now-famous diary was later published by her father, Otto Frank.

A team including retired US FBI agent Vincent Pankoke and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists last week identified a relatively unknown figure, Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh, as a leading suspect in revealing the hideout. A book detailing the findings was published on Tuesday.

"It contributes not to uncovering the truth but to confusion and in addition it is full of errors," John Goldsmith, president of the Basel-based Anne Frank Fund set up by Otto Frank, told Swiss newspaper Blick am Sonntag in an interview.

Some experts have emphasized that the evidence against Van den Bergh was not conclusive. Goldsmith said the team of researchers, which he called a commercial rather than academic undertaking, had not provided proof supporting their assertion.

View of a room inside the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 21, 2018. Picture taken November 21, 2018. (credit: REUTERS/EVA PLEVIER)View of a room inside the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 21, 2018. Picture taken November 21, 2018. (credit: REUTERS/EVA PLEVIER)

"This proof just has not been produced. Simply to disseminate an assertion that then in the public discussion becomes a kind of fact borders on a conspiracy theory," Goldsmith said.

"Now the main statement is: a Jew betrayed Jews. That stays in the memory and it is unsettling."