According to his family, the Jewish businessman who betrayed Anne Frank (15 years old) to the Gestapo may not be guilty.
Arnold van den Bergh’s granddaughter was said to be upset by his reputation being damaged due to the bombshell allegations.
The crack team of cold-case researchers believes they have solved the mystery for 77 years and named Mr van den Bergh the person who gave the Nazis information about the secret Amsterdam hiding place that the Frank family used during World War Two.
He was said to have given addresses to Jewish safehouses in order to gain favor with the Germans so that his family would not be sent to concentration camps.
His granddaughter, however, believes that although she feels ashamed of his claims, there are inconsistencies that make it unlikely that he has betrayed Frank’s family.
According to her, Mr van den Bergh’s wife, their three children and their daughter were already hiding in separate safe houses at the resistance when Anne Frank’s family was captured by Nazis. Her grandfather didn’t have any motive to divulge their locations.
Paul Theelen spoke only to MailOnline. Paul is the family friend of Anne-Marie van den Bergh. His grandfather concealed Anne Marie’s younger daughter between 1943-1944.
It is the same this week. The revelations have upset her and she doesn’t know whether they are true. She didn’t even know what these claims meant until she was told by researchers.
“They claim her grandfather betrayed Anne Frank for his own safety. This just does not seem to be a plausible motive. His three children, all girls from his previous marriage, were hiding in the dark at that time.
He was hiding in Laren along with his wife, so there was no motive. He was an intelligent man and it is possible that he may have delayed his own deportation in 1943 – but he ended up having to hide.’
According to his family, the Jewish businessman who betrayed Anne Frank (15-years-old) to the Gestapo may not be guilty. Arnold van den Bergh’s granddaughter said that he is upset by his reputation being damaged due to the bombshell claims.
An elite team of cold case investigators believes they have solved the 77 year-old mystery. They named Mr van den Bergh the person who gave the Nazis information about the secret hiding spot for the Frank family (photo: Amsterdam) during World War Two.
The shocking claims made about Van den Bergh are documented in a CBS 60 Minutes documentary as well as in Rosemary Sullivan’s book The Betrayal of Anne Frank.
Because he had been named in an anonymous letter to Otto, Anne Frank’s father shortly after the war ended, he came under suspicion immediately.
Research concluded that Otto did not make his letter public because he was afraid of inciting antisemitism through naming a Jewish man responsible for the death and disappearance of his daughter.
A large part of their support was Mr van den Bergh’s participation in Amsterdam’s Jewish Council. It was established by Nazis to monitor the Jewish population that would be subjected to persecution and extermination.
The councils had the right to see the supposedly complete list of Jewish citizens in their area. After the war there was bitter revenge against those bodies, many of whom accused them of collaborating with Nazi leaders.
However, Mr Theleen, a retired electrician said that only very few Jews survived wartime. Therefore it was possible for someone to hold grudge against Otto Frank because of his position and the fact that he wrote the letter. This could have also been an adversary in business.
“How can he have traveled to Amsterdam to tell the German authorities about Franks, when he was hiding in Laren?” He could have been taken prisoner.
Van den Bergh was immediately suspect because of his anonymous letters to Otto, in which he named him as the one who had betrayed Anne Frank’s families (pictured below with Anne and Margot on Anne’s lap).
MailOnline Exclusively – Paul Theelen (right), a relative of Mr van den Bergh, spoke exclusively to MailOnline. He said his grandfather kept Anne Marie (right), the youngest child, from him between 1943 and 1944.
“Also at the time the Franks were captured, it was just a few months after D-Day, and everyone knew that the Germans were losing war. When he was certain that war would soon end, why would he choose to betray Jewish people?
“He would have planned to return into business, resume his life and wouldn’t have had anything similar hanging over his head.
“When I spoke to his grandaughter on the telephone, she wanted me to respond to what was being said. Because the movie and book exist, it’s difficult to find the right words. It is therefore impossible to delete all information.
Mister Theleen stated that his grandfather had close ties with Anne-Marie’s family after the war. He was his bridesmaid in her mother’s wedding. She remained in touch with Anne-Marie, who lives near the North Sea in the Netherlands.
He believed that Mr van den Bergh might also have stirred up animosity, leading to possible retribution against him, due to his business links with German art dealer Alois Miedl who sold Jewish art treasures to the Germans including Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring.
Anne-Marie, who had been seized in Rotterdam at a train station on her way to hiding at Mr Theleen’s grandfather Leo Bastiaensen (who was a headteacher) and his family at Sprundel close to Breda was detained by the Nazis for nine consecutive days.
According to her daughter, she followed the advice of her father and quoted Miedel’s name in her captors’ hands. She was finally released.
In an interview after the war with Dutch officials, Mr van den Bergh, a well-known Jewish notary insisted that Anne Marie had been released because she didn’t have the letter “J” on her papers.
MailOnline also reveals that Van den Bergh’s family lost many relatives during the Holocaust. This could potentially discredit the idea that his family was given preference over other Jews in wartime.
They included his sister Zadok who died aged 61 at Auschwitz in July 1944 and a niece Millie who died aged 23 in June 1943 at an extermination camp in Sobibór, Poland.
Anne Frank was famously known to have fled hiding with her Jewish relatives in 1942. She hid in the cramped Annex of her father’s spice warehouse in Prinsengracht 253, where employees brought them food.
Anne-Marie, who had been seized in Rotterdam at a train station on her way to hiding at Mr Theleen’s home in Sprundel close to the Dutch city Breda, was detained by the Nazis for nine day on suspicion that she was Jewish.
Anne-Marie was then hastily given a new hiding place by sympathetic locals at the home (pictured) of the Sadée family around 40 miles away in Breda
Soon after the property was found, its hiding spot in Breda was revealed by the current owner. MailOnline spoke to the unnamed owner of the three-storey house, explaining how he located the hiding spot five years ago after acquiring the property.
Anne-Marie was hiding in the gap between the old roof and the new roof that had been added to the home after it was built in 1939. Below: A sketch of Anne-Marie’s hiding spot
Margot, her sister, and she both died at Bergen-Belsen in 1945 just before the camp was liberated in 1945 by Allies forces. Edith survived Auschwitz starvation.
Fritz Pfeffer, a Jewish dentist and four members of the Van Pels families who were living in the hideout with the Van Pels children also perished in the concentration camps. Anne’s father Otto, who was freed from Auschwitz, was the only survivor from this annex.
After the war, he published her diary filled with emotions. It was a global bestseller that sold over 30,000,000 copies worldwide in 70 languages.
Due to the global success of this diary, it has been for a long time considered one the most important mysteries of World War Two.
Five years ago, Vince Pankoke (retired FBI agent) and a team of investigators launched a new investigation to crack the case. They used modern crime-solving techniques such as artificial intelligence to sort data through original documents.
Researchers relied on circumstantial evidence, including the fact that Van den Bergh had survived wartime and was able to escape death in concentration camps.
Many Jewish families had the opportunity to temporarily secure their freedom through purchasing Sperre stamps that were attached to their identity papers, which classifies them indispensable.
By October 1943 the Jewish Council in Amsterdam was defunct when Nazis began to round up the last Jews of Amsterdam, including former council members.
Calmeyer status was given to Mr van den Bergh in September 1943. He did so on the ground that one his grandparent’s had been a Gentile. Therefore, it is possible that both he and his relatives should be identified as Aryan or non-Jewish.
The move which happened 11 months before the Franks were arrested meant they had the letter ‘J’ for Jüdisch, or Jewish, removed from their identity cards which should have guaranteed their safety.
During this time, however, van den Bergh’s company was deposed and transferred to an Aryan Notary.
He may have felt humiliated by this takeover, and he took measures to make the business inoperable.
The owner of the property was reportedly furious that he discovered that he had succeeded in lobbying the SS for a reverse decision regarding Mr van den Bergh’s Calmeyer status.
It is thought that his family was forced to leave Amsterdam as a consequence.
Anne Marie van den Bergh, the daughter of Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh pictured (right) as a bridesmaid at the wedding of Riet Bastiaensen, the daughter of Leo Bastiaensen, who gave her a hiding place in World War Two
Anne, her sister Margot and Edith died at Bergen-Belsen in 1945 just before the camp was liberated. Edith survived Auschwitz starvation.
Anne-Marie kept her Jewish roots secret after Mr Bastiaensen’s family, the headteacher, persuaded resistance sympathisers to make her hide at Sprundel.
An outsider told her that she was hiding because she lost both of her parents during a bombing raid.
However, she had to flee when Sprundel’s retreating German forces made it impossible for her to hide.
Anne-Marie’s host family and Anne Marie were forced to share a home with another family because they could not accommodate German soldiers in their own homes. But at one point a soldier noticed her dark hair, and announced: ‘Das ist eine Jüdin’ (‘This is a Jewess’).
Otto Frank, pictured, strongly suggested he knew the identity of the person who had betrayed his family yet kept it quiet – possibly because whoever had done it acted out of self-preservation, according to ex-FBI investigator Pankoke
Anne-Marie was then hastily given a new hiding place by sympathetic locals at the home of the Sadée family around 40 miles away in Breda.
In striking similarities to the Franks’ hiding place behind hinged bookshelves in Amsterdam, she was found hidden in an attic cavity.
MailOnline has located the home where Anne Marie hid for many weeks.
While the present owner was aware that the Jewish girl had been kept in their house during wartime, he did not know she was the daughter Mr van den Bergh. He was only informed by MailOnline yesterday.
Anne-Marie was hiding in the gap between the old roof and the new roof that had been added to the structure when it was expanded in 1939.
MailOnline spoke to the owner of the three-storey house, who requested anonymity because he did not want to identify himself. He said that he discovered the hideout after purchasing the house five years ago.
He stated that the people who sold the house were there for 52 years. They told me there was a place where a Jewish girl could hide during World War II, but had never looked into it.
“We discovered a small entrance, covered in heavy paving stones and wire from the roof. You had to climb over the heating pipes to get there.
“I decided to extend a bedroom because the room was no more there. Amazing to discover that the girl there may have been identified.
According to Mr Theelen Anne-Marie may have been safe enough to return to the Bastiaensen families after Allied forces liberated Sprundel.
But before she left, she was said to have argued with Mr and Mrs Sonée after they tried to ban her and their daughters from socialising with Polish and Canadian troops who had liberated the town, in case they fell pregnant.
Retired FBI Agent Vince Pankoke and historians, as well as criminologists, spent five years looking into the identity of Anne Frank’s informant.
Modern crime solving techniques, such as artificial intelligence and data sorting were used to identify the most probable suspect. Mr van den Bergh was found dead in London, at age 64.
According to researchers, there is no proof that the Germans were given information containing names of Jews.
It was possible that it only contained a list of addresses at which Jews are known to have been hiding in Amsterdam and not specific information about Frank’s family.
The Nazis created the Jewish Council of Amsterdam to ensure that Jews were able to oversee the preparations for extermination of the Dutch minority during World War II. Arnold van den Bergh sits fifth from left
It was revealed in the book that Mrs van den Bergh’s granddaughter met up with the researchers and was then shown Otto’s copy of his letter accusing him.
According to her, she cannot imagine Otto betraying him. It is hard to believe that someone would betray their friends like this.
She continued the book by saying that she had read carefully the note and realized it was not referring specifically to people but lists. This was possible, yes.
If her grandfather actually gave up Prinsengracht 223, the address was most likely just an impersonal address; he did not know who lived there.
“If he really did it, she stated finally that she was certain it was for one reason. He had been forced because it would have saved his family’s life.
MailOnline was not able to get a comment from the granddaughter. She told MailOnline that she did not respond to any media contact.
The shocking claims made about Van den Bergh are featured in a CBS 60 Minutes documentary as well as in Rosemary Sullivan’s book The Betrayal of Anne Frank. Above: Vince Pankoke is pictured right with a team that included an investigator psychologist, war crimes investigators, historians, and criminologists, plus several archives researchers.