- The Washington Times - Friday, July 5, 2002

AMSTERDAM Government historians said yesterday they are reopening the case file on Anne Frank, based on new theories, to determine who betrayed the hiding place of the Dutch Jewish teenager to the Nazis.
The theories were raised by two biographers of Anne Frank, whose diary scrawled in notebooks during her 25 months locked in a secret warehouse annex made her a heroine of the Holocaust.
One theory claimed the betrayer was Anton Ahlers, a business associate of Anne's father, Otto Frank, who was the only member of the family to survive the Nazi concentration camps.
The second theory pointed to Lena Hartog, who cleaned the canal-side warehouse in central Amsterdam below the annex where the Frank family was concealed along with another family eight persons in all.
The Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, publishers of the authoritative text of Anne's diary, said it will conduct an inquiry into the theories, re-examining police files and the national archives.
"So far they are not more than theories for me. There is no smoking gun," said David Barnouw, the institute's leading expert on Anne Frank, who investigated the betrayal mystery in the 1980s.
Mr. Barnouw said he and another researcher, Gerrold van der Stroom, will review the files in light of the two books. Mr. Barnouw said he expected to report their findings before the end of the year.
More than 100,000 Dutch Jews 70 percent of the community were deported to concentration camps in Germany. Most died in gas chambers, and were among the estimated 6 million victims of Nazi genocide of European Jewry. Anne died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen in the spring of 1945, just weeks before the camp was liberated.
German and Dutch security police raided the annex at 263 Prinsengracht on Aug. 4, 1944, hours after receiving a telephone call describing the hiding place.
For years after the war, Dutch police suspected the caller was Willem Van Maaren, an unsavory character who worked at the warehouse.
Mr. Van Maaren was investigated twice, first immediately after the war and again in the 1960s after Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal located the commander of the squad that arrested the Franks, Karl Josef Silberbauer, in the Vienna, Austria, police force.
But the evidence against Mr. Van Maaren was again inconclusive, and he died in 1971 professing his innocence. Mr. Barnouw, the historian, said he believes Mr. Van Maaren was not the betrayer.
Various others came under suspicion, including Mrs. Hartog, the cleaning woman who was married to Mr. Van Maaren's assistant. But no evidence against her was uncovered.
A 1998 biography by Melissa Mueller revived the charges, largely based on contradictions she found in Mrs. Hartog's statements to the police.
A book by British author Carol Ann Lee, published earlier this year in Dutch and appearing yesterday in English, raised the name of Mr. Ahlers. Mr. Barnouw said Mr. Ahlers had never seriously been investigated until Miss Lee probed his involvement in Otto Frank's business.

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