An FBI agent says he believes he knows who betrayed Anne Frank and her family to the Nazis
- A former FBI investigator says he believes he figured out who betrayed
Anne Frankand her family.
- Vince Pankoke says investigators believe Arnold van den Bergh tipped off police about the secret annex.
Former FBI special agent Vince Pankoke believes he and a team of investigators have figured out who betrayed Anne Frank and her family and revealed their hiding spot to the Nazis, he told "60 Minutes."
On August 4, 1944, a tipster, whose identity had been unknown for almost 80 years, led police to the secret annex. The Nazis arrested the Frank family along with another family living with them.
Frank and her sister Margot died of typhus at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. The only member of the Frank family to survive the Nazis was Otto Frank.
Decades later, Pankoke says their investigation found that Arnold van den Bergh, a prominent Jewish businessman who served on the Nazi's Jewish council — a council set up to carry out policies within the Jewish community — tipped off police.
CBS reported that in the Netherlands, betraying a fellow Dutch to the Nazis was a criminal offense.
Pankoke told CBS he assembled a team with "an investigative psychologist, a war crimes investigator, historians, criminologists plus an army of archival researchers" to get to the bottom of who revealed the family's hiding spot.
"The team and I sat down, and we compiled a list of ways in which the annex could have been compromised. You know, was it carelessness of the people occupying the annex maybe making too much noise or being seen in the windows? You know, was it betrayal?" Pankoke told CBS.
Pankoke said the investigators used Dutch records from the time, which were meticulously detailed and used by the Nazis to figure out connections between people. Then they looked at arrest records.
"The Nazis were hellbent on ridding the Netherlands of all Jews, part of the Final Solution. By 1942, the Franks were among some 25,000 Jews in hiding across the country. The Nazis were coldly skilled at getting people to talk," he said.
The Nazis, he said, would always ask anyone they arrested if they knew any Jews in hiding — an effective way to get people to talk in hopes of a lighter sentence.
That method garnered the investigators dozens of possible suspects. Eventually, Pankoke became suspicious of van den Bergh, whose family was never sent to the concentration camps even after the council was dissolved in 1943. Pankoke said van den Bergh was living an open life in Amsterdam when the raid happened.
He added that in a 1963 interview with detectives, Otto Frank said he'd received a note that identified the family's betrayer as van den Bergh. The former FBI agent was able to track a copy of the note to the son of a detective who had previously investigated the case and corroborate that a member of the Jewish Council was turning over lists of addresses where Jews were in hiding.
The investigators said it was unlikely van den Bergh knew who was living in that secret location, and most likely just had a list of places where Jews were hiding.
"But we have to keep in mind that the fact that he was Jewish just meant he was placed into a untenable position by the Nazis to do something to save his life," Pankoke said of van den Bergh.
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