Speed Reads


Retired FBI agent aims to find out once and for all who betrayed Anne Frank

Using new data-mining techniques, a retired FBI agent is hoping to finally identify the person or people who told the Gestapo in 1944 about Anne Frank's hiding place in Amsterdam.

Vince Pankoke will lead a team of 19 forensic experts, including a historian and former detectives, as they comb through evidence and clues. The team will have access to the Anne Frank House's archives, and will look at witness statements and interviews. Pankoke is hopeful German records that were believed to be destroyed in a bombing are actually part of a declassified cache of documents in the U.S. National Archives, and might name the betrayer. "We are not trying to point fingers or prosecute," he told The Guardian. "I am just trying to solve the last case of my career. There is no statute of limitations on the truth."

For two years, Frank, her family, and four other Jewish people lived in a secret annex, helped by some of her father's employees. Following the betrayal, Frank was sent to several concentration camps, and she died in February 1945 at Bergen-Belsen, just 15 years old. Her father, Otto Frank, survived the Holocaust and published the diary she kept while in hiding, making Frank an enduring voice from World War II. Otto Frank always suspected that a warehouse worker named Wilhelm van Maaren tipped the Gestapo off about the annex, but Dutch authorities conducted two investigations and didn't find any hard evidence. The Anne Frank House also published a study suggesting the Gestapo may have found the annex by chance, not based on a tip, but researchers also didn't have any conclusive evidence to back up that theory.