Friday, 27 May 2022

‘We haven’t forgotten!’ Anne Frank investigator explains importance of closing cold case

Anne Frank investigator discusses ‘new link’

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Vince Pankoke appeared on Sky News to share his work on a six-year-long investigation into who betrayed Anne Frank and her family to the Nazis. Mr Pankoke believes Arnold van den Bergh was behind the move as he may have been forced to sell out the Franks to protect his own family from persecution. The investigator added it was important the cold case could now come to a close as it told victims of the holocaust that they will not be forgotten and hopefully it could shed a light on similar events happening around the world now.

Speaking to the broadcaster, Mr Pankoke discussed his investigation and shared why suspect Arnold van den Bergh may have given up the Franks.

He explained: “He had a series of purchase protections from deportation and when those expired, he had lists of addresses, not names, but addresses where Jews were thought to be in hiding.

“Which he passed to keep his safety and his freedom.”

When asked if Anne Frank’s father, Otto, knew who alerted him to the Nazis Mr Pankoke believed he did.

He explained: “Well, of course, Otto was the one who received the note and I think that he knew the name.

“He even took steps in 1945 by confronting one of the Dutch detectives who participated in the rate with the name of Arnold Van den Bergh.

“So, yes, now whether or not at that point he actually believed beyond reasonable doubt that that Van den Bergh was responsible, we’re not sure of that but he did take steps to investigate.”

Mr Pankoke then discussed why it was important to find out who the person was and why they did it.

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He added: “I think we owe it to the memory of the victims of the annex, the survivors of the Holocaust, and the victims of the Holocaust.

“To let them know that, you know, we haven’t forgotten about them and to take a bigger message from this that this type of action could still happen today.”

The former FBI agent led a team of historians and experts to try and track down who may have alerted the Nazis to Anne Frank’s whereabouts and spent six years on the cold case.

Mr Pankoke, who has experience tracking down criminals and kidnappers in his professional life, believes Arnold van den Bergh is the prime suspect in the case.

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Mr Van den Bergh was a member of Amsterdam’s Jewish Council and is believed to have alerted the Nazis to save his own family.

According to Dutch newspaper, de Volkskrant, he died in 1950 and was not sent to a concentration camp, like many other Jews.

Anne hid from German occupational forces in Amsterdam and lived in concealed rooms behind a bookcase.

She kept a diary of her life hiding from the Nazis which was published by her father, Otto, after he was liberated from the concentration camps.

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