Publisher Apologizes for Anne Frank Revelation

Printing of book will stop while skepticism about findings is answered
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2022 3:00 AM CST
Updated Jan 31, 2022 5:16 PM CST
Not So Fast: Experts Cast Doubt on Anne Frank Bombshell
Journalist takes images of pictures of Anne Frank at the renovated Anne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

(Newser) Update: Publication of a book that received worldwide attention when it was released this month has been suspended, and the publisher has apologized for The Betrayal of Anne Frank. Historians and researchers had immediately questioned its main finding—that Arnold van den Bergh had turned in Anne Frank and her family to Nazi officials—and the Dutch publisher now says it should have taken a more critical approach. Printing will cease while the doubts are addressed, the Guardian reports. A decision then will be made about another printing. "We offer our sincere apologies to anyone who might feel offended by the book," the publisher said, per the BBC. Our original story from Jan. 19 follows:

A book released Tuesday revealed a bombshell allegation: The man who betrayed Anne Frank's family during the Holocaust, according to two dozen researchers who investigated the case for years, was fellow Jew Arnold van den Bergh, who was aiming to keep himself and his family out of the Nazi concentration camps. But the same day the book was released, experts were casting doubt on its claims, the New York Times reports. One author of a book on Anne Frank notes that van den Bergh has long been considered a possible suspect, but notes that he could not find any evidence he was involved.

Other scholars agree the evidence is too thin and, as one says, "full of errors," for the book to make the claims it does; one of those is the executive director of the Anne Frank House, who says the museum will present the findings only as one of several theories. According to the book, van den Bergh got a list of Jews in hiding from the Amsterdam Jewish Council, a Nazi-established organization meant to control the Jewish population on whose board van den Bergh once sat. But the experts say there is no evidence such a list existed, and that it also doesn't make sense: "Why would the people in hiding provide the Jewish Council with their addresses?" says a researcher who is an expert on the Council.

Others point out there have long been misconceptions about the Council, and argue that as such, the book should not put so much weight on it. Pieter van Twisk, who assembled the researchers behind the book, acknowledges no actual list was found, but says several sources "mention the existence of the lists." Another big point of the scholars calling out the book is that it adds to "Holocaust inversion," in which people would rather blame Jews for some of the Holocaust's atrocities than look at what actually happened. (See the Times' full story for more.)

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