Anne Frank is one of the most well-known, tragic historical figures of World War II and the Holocaust. Anne documented the traumatic story of the Franks in her diary which was eventually published and shared with the rest of the world.
A website dedicated to telling the story of Anne Frank, AnneFrank.org, summarizes what the family endured during World War II. Born in Germany, Anne Frank, and her family sees the writing on the wall as Hitler rose to power in Germany prior to the start of World War II. Being Jewish, the Franks realize that in order to avoid being round up by the Nazis, they must flee the country. Anne’s father, Otto, moves the family to the Netherlands.
Otto opens up a business and the family gets settled into their new home while Germany invades Poland in 1939. Just more than a year after Poland is invaded by the Germans, the Netherlands is invaded. It takes only five days for the Netherlands to surrender to Hitler. Now under the rules and regulations of Hitler, Anne Frank, her family, and other Jewish families in the Netherlands are being sought out and rounded up for extermination.
For two years Anne Frank and her family go into hiding in order to avoid being taken to concentration camps set up by Hitler. Eventually, the hiding place was discovered and the family was sent away. Otto Frank would eventually be the only person to survive of those who spent two years in the secret annex hiding from the Germans. It was believed that someone had betrayed the Franks and gave away their location, but now a new theory has emerged.
According to the Washington Post, research conducted by the Anne Frank House claim that many betrayal theories believed by Otto Frank may essentially just be conspiracy theories that a grieving father came up with in order to place blame on a single person. The person that Otto Frank believed was responsible for his family being found was Willem van Maaren, a new employee hired by Otto. No evidence has ever been presented that conclusively points to Maaren as the reason for the Frank family to be discovered.
The research conducted by members of the Anne Frank House has discovered that the three men that uncovered the hiding spot of the Frank family may not have been looking for Jewish people in order to send them away to the concentration camps in Germany. It is now being speculated that these men were simply seeking out people that were committing ration fraud or dodging being drafted for the war effort.
Gezinus Gringhuis was one of the men that discovered Anne Frank and her family. The fact that Gringhuis was formerly part of a group of investigators used to track down jews help lend credibility to the betrayal theory. At the time of the Franks being discovered, Gringhuis had a new job in which he was “investigating economic violations.” Anne documented in her diary multiple times about men being arrested that were committing ration card fraud. As these people were being arrested for fraud, investigators commonly came across jews in hiding. The fact that they were discovered was more of a coincidence than a conscious effort to round up jews in hiding.
“In any case, the Anne Frank House’s investigative report indicates that more was going on in the building (than) only people being hidden there. The possibility of betrayal has of course not been entirely ruled out by this. … Clearly, the last word about that fateful summer day in 1944 has not yet been said.”
Does this new theory hold water? Do you think that it was just bad luck that Anne Frank and her family were discovered by investigators seeking out people that were committing fraud?
[Featured Image by Bas Czerwinski/AP Images]