An “Investigation” into Anne Frank’s Betrayal Gets the Facts Wrong While Encouraging Anti-Semitism

Released in January to much fanfare, Rosemary Sullivan’s The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation, brings the genre of true-crime writing to the Shoah. Based on a six-year investigation by a self-styled “cold-case team” that included a former FBI agent and employed the latest developments in big-data analysis and artificial intelligence, the book concludes with “85-percent” certainty that a Jew named Arnold van den Bergh betrayed the location of Anne Frank and her family to the SS. Historians and careful readers have already exposed the flimsiness of the case against van den Bergh, but that might be the least of the book’s problems. Jonathan Tobin writes:

Since we know the identity of the true culprit—Hitler—the mechanics of the Frank family’s exposure would not really seem to matter much. . . . But the book was praised for Sullivan’s narrative skills and the picture she painted of life in wartime Holland as seen through the prism of detectives searching for the truth about the identity of the person who cut short the life of a beloved figure. Stories in newspapers around the world heralded their achievement, with some, like Britain’s Daily Mail, employing headlines that proclaimed, “Anne Frank was betrayed by a JEWISH notary.”

The book seemed to be a classic example of what [Dara] Horn has called “Holocaust inversion”—the perverse rendering of the Shoah in which Jews are blamed for their own fate. Just as Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem had focused on the notion that “without Jewish help,” the murder of the 6 million would not have been possible, the idea that van den Bergh, and not a Dutch traitor, had been responsible for the fate of the Franks was the latest example of how the Diary of a Young Girl had become a means by which the non-Jewish world could absolve itself of any responsibility for what happened during the Holocaust.

The problem here is not that the cold-case team and Sullivan failed to provide a convincing answer to the question asked by those who visit the Anne Frank House. Regardless of what might well have been their good intentions, by the time their investigation concluded, its purpose was not to honor Anne’s memory or that of the millions of other Jewish victims. Rather, it was to exploit and profit in a familiar manner from the story of their fate—to portray it as just another notorious homicide. That they did so by ultimately coming up with a Jewish villain for their drama makes it even worse.

Tobin aptly cites Horn’s quip that the murdered teenager is “everyone’s (second) favorite dead Jew.” In Sullivan’s telling, the story of her betrayal resembles a popular version of the story of the betrayal of the world’s favorite dead Jew.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anne Frank, Anti-Semitism, Holocaust


As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas