Publisher withdraws Anne Frank book after criticism from historians and scholars

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

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

Six Dutch historians and scholars have now responded with a 69-page ‘rebuttal’, calling the investigation team’s findings a ‘wobbly house of cards’. The book’s publisher, Ambo Anthos, who previously apologized for the book in February in response to criticism, announced on Tuesday evening that he would withdraw the book.

“Based on the findings of this report, we have decided that with immediate effect the book will no longer be available,” Ambo Anthos wrote on its website. “We will appeal to booksellers to return their stock.”

‘The Anne Frank Betrayal’ claimed that the person who told the Nazis about the Frank family’s secret hideout in an annex in Amsterdam was likely a Jewish notary, Arnold Van den Bergh. Investigators allege that Van den Bergh revealed the family’s location to prevent his own family from being sent to Nazi concentration camps.

The Dutch researchers argued in their response that the investigation 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), believed to be true a moment later and then used as the building block for the next step in the train of logic.

“This makes the whole book a flimsy house of cards, because if a single step turns out to be wrong, the cards above also crumble,” the researchers wrote.

Cold case team leader Pieter van Twisk told Dutch broadcaster NOS that the researchers’ argument was “very detailed and extremely strong” and said that “it gives us pause for thought for a certain many things, but at this time I do not see that Van den Bergh can be permanently removed as the prime suspect,” the Associated Press reported.

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

“There is no irrefutable proof because the betrayal is circumstantial,” Bayens said.

US publisher HarperCollins issued a statement in response to the researchers’ findings indicating that it still plans to abide by the book.

“While we recognize there was some criticism of the findings, the investigation was conducted with respect and the utmost care for an extremely sensitive subject,” the editor said, according to the AP.