The Dutch publisher is recalling Rosemary Sullivan's The Betrayal of Anne Frank, a new and controversial release that claims Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh told the Nazis where Anne and her family were hiding in Amsterdam. Though the researchers behind the book said van den Bergh emerged as the most likely suspect during a six-year investigation, historians questioned many details, including the purported existence of a list of Jews in hiding, which van den Bergh was said to have obtained. Indeed, in a new report, a team of World War II experts pan the book as "amateurish," the BBC reports.
"It is without exception very weak, sometimes based on an evidently erroneous reading of the sources, fabricated additions to sources, and has not in any way been subjected to a critical assessment," according to the report released in the Netherlands, per Reuters. The experts conclude "there is not any serious evidence for this grave accusation." Dutch publishing house Ambo Anthos, which had already halted printings of the book following its release in January, said it was asking bookstores to return their copies with "sincere apologies" to anyone offended by the contents.
Van den Bergh's granddaughter has now joined the European Jewish Congress in calling on HarperCollins to pull the English-language edition. "With this story, you are exploiting the story of Anne Frank, you are falsifying history and you are contributing to great injustice," she said, per the BBC. In making the same request last month, the president of the European Jewish Congress, which represents 42 national Jewish communities across Europe, said "Ambo Anthos has stated that it relied on the judgment of Harper Collins Publisher, as the holder of publishing rights worldwide regarding the contents of the book," per the Times of Israel. (Read more Anne Frank stories.)