Publisher pulls Anne Frank book after criticism from historians, academics

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A new book investigating Anne Frank and her family has been pulled by a Dutch publisher.

“The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation,” written by Rosemary Sullivan, details the findings from a team of investigators and the conclusions they came to about who betrayed the Frank family to the Nazis. The book sparked backlash following its publication in January after some historians criticized its findings as being inconclusive. 

Six Dutch historians and academics have now responded with a 69-page “refutation,” calling the investigative team’s conclusions “a shaky house of cards.” The book’s publisher, Ambo Anthos, which previously apologized for the book in February in response to criticism, announced Tuesday night that it would withdraw the book. 

“Based on the conclusions of this report, we have decided that, effective immediately, the book will no longer be available,” Ambo Anthos wrote on its website. “We will call upon bookstores to return their stock.”

“The Betrayal of Anne Frank” claimed that the person who told the Nazis about the Frank family’s secret hiding place in an annex in Amsterdam was likely a Jewish notary, Arnold Van den Bergh. The investigators allege that Van den Bergh revealed the family’s location to save his own family from being sent to Nazi concentration camps.

The Dutch scholars argued in their response that the investigative team’s conclusions do not hold up, as the book “displays a distinct pattern in which assumptions are made by the CCT (Cold Case Team), held to be true a moment later, and then used as a building block for the next step in the train of logic.” 

“This makes the entire book a shaky house of cards, because if any single step turns out to be wrong, the cards above also collapse,” the researchers wrote.

The leader of the cold case team, Pieter van Twisk, told Dutch broadcaster NOS that the researchers’ argument was “very detailed and extremely solid” and said that “it gives us a number of things to think about, but for the time being I do not see that Van den Bergh can be definitively removed as the main suspect,” the Associated Press reported. 

Dutch filmmaker Thijs Bayens, who put together the cold case team, admitted to the AP that the team could not be fully certain that Van den Bergh was the person who betrayed the Franks. 

“There is no smoking gun because betrayal is circumstantial,” Bayens said. 

U.S. publisher HarperCollins released a statement in response to the researchers’ findings saying it still plans to stand by the book.

“While we recognize there has been some criticism to the findings, the investigation was done with respect and the utmost care for an extremely sensitive topic,” the publisher said, according to the AP. 

Tags Anne Frank Book publishing HarperCollins Holocaust Nazis

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