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Investigating who betrayed Anne Frank and her family to the Nazis

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Deckard, Jan 16, 2022.

  1. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    I was skimming through different sources of the news, as I often do, when I ran across this article from CBS News. The title of the thread describes the subject matter perfectly. Like many in our country and elsewhere, when I was young I had read The Diary of Anne Frank. Later, during visits to Amsterdam in the Netherlands over the years, I more than once visited the Anne Frank house. So when I saw this story I began to read. Here is the beginning. The rest can be found through the link at the bottom of the page. It is well worth reading.

    Investigating who betrayed Anne Frank and her family to the Nazis
    BY JON WERTHEIM
    JANUARY 16, 2022 / 8:06 PM / CBS NEWS


    Seventy-five years after its publication, "The Diary of Anne Frank" remains among the most widely-read books in the world. Blinkering between hope and despair, the account of a Jewish teenager's life in hiding in an annex behind an Amsterdam warehouse, gave voice and a face to millions of victims of the Nazi genocide, yet one question has gone stubbornly unanswered all these years: who alerted the Nazi search team, in 1944, to Anne Frank and her family's hiding place? Two Dutch police inquiries and countless historians have come up with theories, but no firm conclusions… Then, in 2016, a team of investigators, led by a veteran FBI agent, decided to bring modern crime-solving techniques and technology to this cold case. And now, they believe they have an answer—one we'll share with you tonight—to a question that's bedeviled historians, and haunted Holland: who was responsible for the betrayal?

    Vince Pankoke had turned in his badge and gun. He was two years into a comfortable Florida retirement, when his phone rang in the spring of 2016.

    Vince Pankoke: I received a call from a colleague from the Netherlands who said, "If you-- if you're done laying on the beach, we have a case for you."

    Jon Wertheim: Were you laying on the beach?

    Vince Pankoke: I-- I was actually driving to the beach. I w-- (LAUGH) I wasn't quite there yet.

    Pankoke spent three decades as an FBI special agent, targeting Colombian drug cartels. His work had also taken him to the Netherlands, where his investigative chops left an impression.

    Jon Wertheim: Were you looking to get back when he told you what it was about?

    Vince Pankoke: After he told me it was to, you know, try to solve the mystery of what caused the raid-- for Anne Frank and the others in the annex. I needed to hear more.

    Four-thousand miles away, in Amsterdam, Thijs Bayens a Dutch filmmaker and documentarian, had been asking around for a credentialed investigator to dig into a question that he feels Holland has never quite reckoned with, one that gets to the essence of human nature.


    Thijs Bayens: For me, it was really important to investigate what makes us-- give up on each other. The area where Anne Frank lived is very normal. And it's a very warm area with the butcher and the doctor and the policeman. They worked together. They loved each other. They lived together. And suddenly people start to betray on each other. How could that happen?

    Jon Wertheim: Of the millions, literally millions of stories to come out of the Holocaust, why do you think this one resonates the way it does?

    Thijs Bayens: I think right after the war people were shown-- the concentration camps, the atrocities that took place, the horror. And, suddenly you find this innocent, beautiful, very smart, funny, talented girl. And she as a lighthouse comes out of the darkness. And then I think humanity said, "This is who we are.

    Betraying fellow Dutch to the Nazis was a criminal offense in the Netherlands, but two police probes and a whole library of books dedicated to the Anne Frank case, yielded neither convictions nor definitive conclusions.

    Jon Wertheim: This question of who betrayed Anne Frank, that had been investigated for years. What was gonna make your investigation different than the ones before it?

    Thijs Bayens: If it's a criminal act, it should be investigated by the police. So we set it up as a cold case.
    Like so many, Pankoke had read the diary in middle school in Western Pennsylvania and it left a mark. There would be no perp walks or busted crime syndicates here, but he was intrigued… cautiously.

    Jon Wertheim: You hear, "We're gonna go back and look at Anne Frank." And that might have the ring of some schlocky media creation. Did that worry you?

    Vince Pankoke: Oh, it did. It did. Because as a career investigator, I didn't wanna be associated with any type of a tabloid type investigation.

    Jon Wertheim: You had to make sure this was serious.

    Vince Pankoke: Let's face it. I mean, the honor of the diary, the honor of-- Anne Frank, we had to treat this with utmost respect.

    What ultimately sealed it for Vince Pankoke, the guarantee of absolute autonomy. The ground rules: Thijs Bayens would oversee the operation and could film the process for a documentary he's been making. There would be a book about it, which helped finance the project along with funding from the city of Amsterdam, but this was going to be an independent undertaking with serious investigators. And Vince Pankoke was going to take the lead digging in.

    Jon Wertheim: You'd done cold cases before. Before this, what was the biggest gap in time between when you were approached and when the-- the crime occurred?

    Vince Pankoke: It was about a five year crime at that point.

    Jon Wertheim: It's 75 years. So a little different.

    Vince Pankoke: It's a lot different--

    Jon Wertheim: This is more than cold.

    Vince Pankoke: This-- yeah. This was frozen.

    To chip away, Pankoke had to draw up his own blueprint. He knew that there was going to be more information to plow through than any human could handle and that artificial intelligence could be a secret weapon.

    An FBI man's dream team was assembled… an investigative psychologist, a war crimes investigator, historians, criminologists plus an army of archival researchers.

    Jon Wertheim: What did all these people with disparate skills bring to this?

    Vince Pankoke: They brought a different view. It was all of these skills that help us understand and put into context, a crime that happened, you know, in 1944. We have to look at things differently.

    Together, they dove into a familiar story: the Frank family had moved to Amsterdam from Germany to escape the rise of Hitler. They found safety in Holland, where Otto Frank ran a manufacturing business. But then the Nazis invaded in 1940, two years later, the Franks—Otto, wife Edith, Anne and her sister Margot—along with four other Jewish friends of the family went into hiding in an annex behind Otto's warehouse. Today, it's preserved as a museum. Dr. Gertjan Broek, a historian at the Anne Frank house, showed us in.


    Produced by David M. Levine. Associate producers, Jacqueline Kalil and Elizabeth Germino. Broadcast associates, Annabelle Hanflig and Eliza Costas. Edited by Michael Mongulla.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/anne-frank-betrayal-investigation-60-minutes-2022-01-16/
     
  2. CCorn

    CCorn Member

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    @Deckard I'm glad they may have finally found out who betrayed your classmate.
     
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  3. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    Ouch.. :eek:
     
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  4. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    I saw the piece and it was very interesting. Both the history but also the investigative techniques used to untangle a cold case more than 70 years old. 60 Minutes usually post full episodes a day or so after broadcast so anyone interested in history criminal investigations should watch it.

    Also agree with Deckard that the Anne Frank house is a must see when visiting Amsterdam. It's hard to understand just how difficult it must've been to stay hidden for more than two years.
     
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  5. jo mama

    jo mama Contributing Member

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    ive been to the anne frank house - its a must-see for anyone going to amsterdam. i actually stayed at a place that was a block away from there along the canal.

    i saw that segment on 60 minutes. very interesting. im not sure what the purpose of finding a name is though...whomever reported them is most likely long dead so at this point solving who it was would only embarrass their descendants. there was one part where they were basically in the back area behind all the houses and talked about how someone on the other side of the courtyard could have seen a light up there or some activity and reported them. it could have just been a random person who called it in and it was never recorded who it was. at this point i dont know how you would find out who it was and again, what the purpose would be beyond shaming their living relatives.

    crazy that it sounds like otto frank might have actually discovered who it was and then kept quiet.
     
    #5 jo mama, Jan 17, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2022
  6. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member

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    Crazy...especially when you see that the evidence was actually there the whole time and just got overlooked and then packed away. I realize that the guy was protecting himself and his family. I just hope that he died riddled with guilt for what he did.

    I hope to make it to Amsterdam someday and the house will be one of the first things I see. Growing up Jewish, you're told the story of Anne Frank from even earlier than when you all read it in grade school.
     
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  7. Kim

    Kim Contributing Member

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  8. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast

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    Right. At this point unless you're a surviving SS member, or Serbian/Ukranian/Croatian death squad member, or camp personnel, or Red Army murderous/rapist p.o.s....

    Bygones.
     
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  9. GIGO

    GIGO Member

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  10. Jontro

    Jontro Member

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    what will they get out of this? i doubt they will even find the truth.
     
  11. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    I don't think it is about embarrassing the descendants. This is about understanding a very compelling and symbolic story from WWII. It's also about understanding how human nature works when put under extreme stress that can bring out either the best or the worst in people.

    Understanding how otherwise ordinary people risked their lives to save people like Anne Frank and that otherwise ordinary people turned in Anne Frank is important not just for history.
     
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  12. jo mama

    jo mama Contributing Member

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    this is way different than those examples though. and at this point is there any way to conclusively find out who was responsible? it doesnt look like it. all they can do is speculate. even in the case of the person they think turned them in, they dont know for sure it was him. the 60 minutes episode mentioned a guy who worked for the guy that was hiding them and said he wasnt a good person, but he would not have been the kind of person who would turn them in. but that didnt stop them from naming him in the piece. its all speculation.

    like i said, its entirely possible that it was some random person who lived in a nearby building and reported seeing lights on in the attic or some activity up there...theres just no way to conclusively know who turned them in.

    again, it does appear that otto frank might have found out who it was in 1947 because at that point he stopped trying to find out who it was.

    we dont need to know the name of who turned them in in order to understand these things though.
     
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  13. Jugdish

    Jugdish Member

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    Best travel vlogger out there.
     
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  14. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    It does help to know who this person was and in the case of Anne Frank the identity of the suspect was important given his background. Also I understand why the descendants might be embarrassed but they certainly aren't criminally liable for the actions of their grandfather / great grand father. I'm sure all of us have ancestors who did things that we would be ashamed of. That doesn't mean we are those people.

    This idea that we shouldn't investigate or know what happened in the past because it might shame people currently is one of the biggest impediments to history and often used an excuse to not dig into historical mysteries.
     
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  15. jo mama

    jo mama Contributing Member

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    im not saying we shouldnt investigate the past. i just feel that in this case there is no way to conclusively know who turned them in so anything they put out there is speculative. the investigators themselves said they are not 100% certain who did it. but that didnt stop them from naming multiple suspects in the 60 minutes piece including someone they say might be the prime suspect. i just think that is unfair. those people are dead, but their children and grandchildren are still around and now have their family name put out there as suspects. again, its all speculative at this point.
     
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  16. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    Yes it's speculative and the investigators made that clear but again that doesn't mean that those ancestors were the ones who turned in Anne Frank or share any culpability.

    Also how far do we take this that we shouldn't investigate or name possible suspects in infamous historical situations? There are likely many descendants of Jack the Ripper so if historical investigators find good evidence about how Jack the Ripper was should they not name that suspect out of feeling for that person's descendants? What about the Zodiac Killer, who may still be alive?
     
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  17. Squirtle

    Squirtle Member

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    The Jews did this. Color me surprised!
     
  18. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    Good post. That's exactly what the ultimate purpose of the investigation was about. It's discussed in the article.
     
  19. droxford

    droxford Member

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    [QUOTE="]im not sure what the purpose of finding a name is though...whomever reported them is most likely long dead so at this point solving who it was would only embarrass their descendants.[/QUOTE]

    The interwebs haven't canceled anyone in a while. They need fresh blood.
     
  20. Supermac34

    Supermac34 President, Von Wafer Fan Club

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    Would you have reported Anne Frank's family if it meant saving your own?
     

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