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Dutch publisher apologizes over controversial Anne Frank book, halts printing

Ambo Anthos says it should have taken a more ‘critical stance’ before publishing book that said a Jewish notary betrayed Jewish diarist, in findings criticized by experts

A journalist takes images of pictures of Anne Frank at the renovated Anne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 21, 2018. (AP Photo/ Peter Dejong, File)
A journalist takes images of pictures of Anne Frank at the renovated Anne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 21, 2018. (AP Photo/ Peter Dejong, File)

The Dutch publisher of a controversial book that claimed Anne Frank was betrayed by a Jewish notary apologized Monday to those offended by the book and said it was suspending printing, after its findings were bashed by historians as “rubbish” and the head of a fund founded by the famed diarist’s father said it was “full of errors.”

The Dutch-language publisher, Amsterdam-based Ambo Anthos, sent an email to its owners saying it would halt printing and acknowledging that it should have taken a more “critical stance” on the matter, according to the Reuters news agency.

“We await the answers from the researchers to the questions that have emerged and are delaying the decision to print another run. We offer our sincere apologies to anyone who might feel offended by the book,” said the email.

The firm refused to go into further detail when contacted by Reuters. The book’s author, Rosemary Sullivan, and the English-language publisher HarperCollins declined comment.

Reuters quoted Pieter van Twisk, one of the experts cited in the book, as saying the research team was “completely surprised” by the email.

“We had a meeting last week with the editors and talked about the criticism and why we felt it could be deflected and agreed we would come with a detailed reaction later,” he reportedly said.

‘The Betrayal of Anne Frank’ (courtesy)

Published January 18, author Rosemary Sullivan’s “The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation,” determined — based on an anonymous letter sent to Frank’s father, Otto — that Arnold van den Bergh, a member of the Nazi-appointed Jewish Council, gave addresses of Jews in hiding to the Germans in exchange for freedom. Among those addresses, the investigators claim, was Otto Frank’s office building, where the concealed rooms were located.

John Goldsmith, president of the Basel-based Anne Frank Fund, said the claim was not sufficiently backed up, and was tantamount to a “conspiracy theory.”

“It contributes not to uncovering the truth but to confusion, and in addition, it is full of errors,” Goldsmith told Swiss newspaper Blick am Sonntag.

“This proof just has not been produced. Simply to disseminate an assertion that then in the public discussion becomes a kind of fact borders on a conspiracy theory,” he charged. “Now the main statement is: a Jew betrayed Jews. That stays in the memory and it is unsettling.”

Members of the Nazi-appointed Amsterdam Jewish Council, with Arnold van den Bergh, second from left (public domain)

Van den Bergh’s relatives also slammed the investigation, saying he was innocent and that they were “upset” his reputation had been wrecked by the allegations.

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