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Dutch publisher recalls discredited Anne Frank book after new report criticizes findings

The Dutch publisher of a discredited cold case investigation into the betrayal of teenage Jewish diarist Anne Frank said Tuesday it was recalling the book following a critical report on its findings.

Dutch publisher will ask bookstores to return their stock following report from historians

A man looks at an exhibition about Anne Frank at the Victory museum in Sibenik, Croatia, in 2017. A Dutch publisher has recalled a book that suggested a Jewish notary betrayed Anne Frank, following criticism of its findings. (Antonio Bronic/Reuters)

The Dutch publisher of a discredited cold case investigation into the betrayal of teenage Jewish diarist Anne Frank on Tuesday said it was recalling the book following a critical report on its findings.

The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation by Canadian best-selling author Rosemary Sullivan has been widely dismissed by experts since its release in January.

The book named a Jewish notary, Arnold van den Bergh, as the main suspect in exposing the Frank family's hideout to the Nazis.

There was a backlash by Jewish groups, historians and independent researchers who subsequently criticized the cold case team's conclusion.

The Betrayal of Anne Frank, by author Rosemary Sullivan, was released on Jan. 18. (HarperCollins Canada)

Last month, the main umbrella group for Europe's national Jewish communities urged HarperCollins to pull the English edition, saying it had tarnished Anne Frank's memory and the dignity of Holocaust survivors.

On Tuesday, a counter-report by Second World War experts and historians was released in the Netherlands, saying the conclusions of the cold case team, led by a retired U.S. FBI investigator, did not withstand professional scrutiny.

"It is without exception very weak, sometimes based on an evidently erroneous reading of the sources, fabricated additions to sources, and has not in any way been subjected to a critical assessment," the report concluded.

"There is not any serious evidence for this grave accusation," the experts found.

In response, Dutch publisher Ambo Anthos said: "Based on the conclusions of this report, we have decided that effective immediately, the book will no longer be available. We will call upon bookstores to return their stock."

The English edition of the book was published by HarperCollins. HarperCollins did not respond to a request for comment.

Frank's diary about life in hiding has been translated into 60 languages.

She and seven other Jews were discovered in August 1944 after they had evaded capture for nearly two years in a secret annex above a canalside warehouse in Amsterdam. All were deported and Frank died in the Bergen Belsen camp at age 15.

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