Anne Frank ‘may have been captured by chance’

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The study by the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam says that despite decades of research, there is no conclusive evidence the young Jewish diarist and her family were betrayed to the Netherlands’ German occupiers during the Second World War.

Ronald Leopold, executive director of the Anne Frank House museum, said the new research “illustrates that other scenarios should also be considered”.

One theory is that the 4 August 1944 raid that led to Anne’s arrest could have been part of an investigation into illegal labour or falsified ration coupons at the canal-side house where she and other Jews hid for more than two years.

The house in Amsterdam where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis
Image Caption:The house where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis

Anne kept a diary whilst in hiding and this was published after the war, turning her into a globally recognised symbol of Holocaust victims.

She died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp aged 15, shortly before it was liberated by Allied forces.

The new research highlights two men who worked in the building on Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht canal and dealt in illegal ration cards.

They were arrested earlier in 1944 and subsequently released, Dutch records show. The arrests were also mentioned in Anne’s diary.

A memorial to Anne Frank and sister Margot at the former Bergen-Belsen camp
Image Caption:A memorial to Anne Frank and sister Margot at the former Bergen-Belsen camp

Such arrests were reported to an investigation division based in The Hague and the report says: “During their day-to-day activities, investigators from this department often came across Jews in hiding by chance.”

Another possibility is that the raid was part of an investigation into people being allowed to work to prevent them being called up as forced labour and sent to Germany.

“A company where people were working illegally and two sales representatives were arrested for dealing in ration coupons obviously ran the risk of attracting the attention of the authorities,” the report said.

It says “the possibility of betrayal has of course not been entirely ruled out by this, nor has any relationship between the ration coupon fraud and the arrest been proven” and says more research is needed.

“Clearly, the last word about that fateful summer day in 1944 has not yet been said,” the report adds.

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