Anne Frank may not have been betrayed to the Nazis after all

Girls surround a wax figure of Anne Frank
(Image credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Anne Frank lived two years in hiding while she wrote her now-classic diary, and her family's 1944 arrest by the Nazis has long been attributed to the work of an unknown betrayer. But a new study published Friday by the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam "illustrates that other scenarios should also be considered" — in other words, perhaps no traitor has been definitively identified because none existed.

The fresh research suggests Sicherheitsdienst agents were not intentionally looking for hidden Jews, but simply investigating food ration fraud. Frank's diary mentions that two salesmen who worked in the building where she was hidden were arrested and her family had no food coupons as a result. "A company where people were working illegally and two sales representatives were arrested for dealing in ration coupons obviously ran the risk of attracting the attention of the authorities," said researcher Gertjan Broek, postulating that it was this encounter with authorities that led to the discovery of the Franks' attic hideaway.

Anne Frank died, likely from typhus, in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at 15 years old, just a few weeks before British soldiers arrived to liberate the prisoners. She was buried in a mass grave.

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.