Amsterdam city has published an open letter to HarperCollins asking for its name to be removed from the credits of The Betrayal of Anne Frank.
The book, purporting to reveal the secrets of the betrayal of one of the most famous victims of the Holocaust, was published to great fanfare and international publicity in 2022. Journalists reportedly signed secrecy agreements which meant its conclusion that a prominent Jewish notary Arnold van den Bergh was responsible could not be checked pre-publication with independent experts.
There was an immediate outcry from experts abroad and in the Netherlands from relatives. They said they had shared documentary evidence that Van den Bergh was already in hiding by the time of the raid on ‘the secret annex‘ where Frank and her family were living. A collective of historians later thoroughly refuted the accusation against Van den Bergh.
The Dutch version of the book was withdrawn but now Amsterdam municipality is distancing itself from foreign versions of the book still on sale by asking for its name to be removed from credits.
Deputy mayor Alexander Scholtes said in a letter to HarperCollins, published openly after being sent earlier in July, that the city objected to being named in a paperback version published in 2023.
“Unfortunately, it has…transpired that both the research and the book contain many historical errors, which has been confirmed by several scholars,” he wrote, on behalf of the city executive.
“I do not need to explain to you how painful World War II and the Holocaust are for Jewish and many other residents of Amsterdam and their relatives and descendants. Research into the irreparable suffering and injustice inflicted on the Jewish population in World War II should be carried out with the utmost care.”
He added: “Since 2022, HarperCollins has been offering this book for sale in many countries and in January this year you also launched a paperback version. Changes have been made to it but, according to authoritative scholars, the evidence and line of argument are still unsound.
“In the book, the City of Amsterdam is thanked for its contribution. However, the City of Amsterdam did not actively contribute to the book in any way and has since emphatically distanced itself from it. We therefore urge you to remove the City of Amsterdam’s name from this work.”
Scholtes also informed councillors on Thursday that that it is not possible for the city to retrieve a €100,000 grant for research that eventually led to the publication of the book by Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan.
The research was conducted by a Dutch/American “cold case” team and some will be made public, after checks that the people involved are happy with the text, the city said.
Bart Wallet, one of the historians who wrote to HarperCollins in March 2022 to present detailed research refuting the accusation that Van den Bergh was responsible for betraying Anne Frank, told Dutch News they have had no reply.
Dutch News has asked HarperCollins for a response.
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