Ambo Anthos, the Dutch publisher of Rosemary Sullivan’s The Betrayal of Anne Frank, has indefinitely suspended printing of the book after central elements of research were called into question. The book’s thesis—that the Frank family’s location was leaked to the Nazis by Arnold van den Bergh, a Jewish notary—has been criticized as lacking evidence by, among others, the Anne Frank Fund.
In an email to its authors, Ambo Anthos wrote that it should have taken a more “critical stance” on the book. “We await the answers from the researchers to the questions that have emerged and are delaying the decision to print another run,” read the email in part, according to Reuters and The New York Times. “We offer our sincere apologies to anyone who might feel offended by the book.”
According to The New York Times, The Betrayal of Anne Frank argues that van den Bergh had access to a list of Amsterdam Jews in hiding, compiled by the Jewish Council; apparently, the investigators produced no evidence this list ever existed, and no scholar of the Jewish Council knows of such a list. In an earlier New York Times interview, media producer Pieter Pieter van Twisk, whose company Proditione led the attempt to identify who betrayed Anne Frank, told The Times there was “circumstantial evidence” of the list’s existence—but the three sources whose testimony he cited were all Nazi collaborators.
WWII historian Bart van der Boom told the Times this insinuation that the Jewish Council kept a list of Jews in hiding is “totally unfounded, and worse, very, very unlikely. It’s almost unthinkable.”
Van Twisk told Reuters the book’s research team was “completely surprised” by Ambo Anthos’s choice: “We had a meeting last week with the editors and talked about the criticism and why we felt it could be deflected and agreed we would come with a detailed reaction later.”
“Simply to disseminate an assertion that then in the public discussion becomes a kind of fact borders on a conspiracy theory,” John Goldsmith, president of the Anne Frank Fund, told Reuters. “”Now the main statement is: a Jew betrayed Jews. That stays in the memory and it is unsettling.”
HarperCollins, The Betrayal of Anne Frank‘s U.S. publisher, has made no public statement about the book.