By Cnaan Liphshiz
Ambo Anthos, the Amsterdam-based publishing house that printed the Dutch-language translation of a controversial book alleging that a Jew had betrayed Anne Frank, has apologized for not reviewing the material more critically and ceased printing new copies of it on Monday.
The book “The Betrayal of Anne Frank,” published earlier this month by the Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan, hypothesizes that the teenage diarist and her family were turned over to the Nazis by Arnold van den Bergh, a notary and a member of the Jewish Council, which the Nazis established to better control Dutch Jews.
The book documents the work of a cold case investigation team set up six years ago. But soon after it was published, several critics, including well-known historians who specialize in the history of the Frank family, dismissed the probe’s conclusion as inconclusive and irresponsible.
Bart van der Boom, a Leiden University historian who has written extensively about the Jewish Council, called the findings “libelous nonsense.” David Barnouw, one of the best-respected historians of World War II in the Netherlands, said he had considered van den Bergh but dismissed him as a suspect and called the book’s allegation “lacking in evidence.”
The main piece of evidence in the investigation is an anonymous letter naming van den Bergh sent to Otto Frank, Anne’s father and the only member of the nuclear family of four who survived the Holocaust.
NOS reported that some experts do not believe van den Bergh had access to a list of addresses of Jews in hiding at the time.
Anne Frank wrote several diaries while hiding from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam with her family. After the Holocaust, her father edited her writings into the book that became an international bestseller.
While she became an icon of the Holocaust around the world, the chronicle of the Frank family’s life in hiding, aided by courageous resistance activists, resonated especially strongly in the Netherlands, where the story is widely thought to encapsulate multiple aspects of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
Ambo Anthos, the Amsterdam-based publisher, apologized in a statement to “anyone felt offended” by Sullivan’s book. Editing was not possible ahead of publication under the Dutch publisher’s deal with HarperCollins, which owns the copyright for the book, the statement added.
The book is still available in other languages.