AMSTERDAM — The Dutch publisher of “The Betrayal of Anne Frank,” a new book scholars have criticized for putting forward inconclusive findings, apologized for “offending anyone” in an email sent to its authors, and said it would delay printing more copies of the book until further notice.
“A more critical stance could have been taken here,” wrote Tanja Hendriks, the publisher and director of Ambo Anthos Publishers, in the email, which The New York Times has seen.
“The Betrayal of Anne Frank,” by the Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan, which was published in the United States by HarperCollins, received worldwide media attention after its release on Jan. 17, bolstered by a double segment on CBS Network’s “60 Minutes” the evening before. HarperCollins declined to comment for this article, and Sullivan did not respond to emails and telephone calls.
Sullivan’s book is an account of an investigation led by a retired F.B.I. detective that concluded Arnold van den Bergh, a Jewish notary from Amsterdam, was most likely the informant who revealed the Frank family’s whereabouts to the Nazis.
Dutch experts in World War II history and the Holocaust said that the authors and investigators lacked adequate evidence to make such a charge, and that they based their case on leaps of logic, rather than on any hard evidence or forensic science.
Ambo Anthos declined to comment on the email, which says that the publishing house is looking into the book’s findings. “We are waiting for answers from the research team to the questions that have arisen,” Hendriks wrote.
Critics of the book, such as the World War II historian Bart van der Boom, said the publisher’s decision to delay printing more copies was a vindication. “It will undoubtedly cement the notion that there’s something seriously wrong,” van der Boom said in an interview.
He added that he was pleased that the publisher seemed to have registered the historians’ protests. “The worst-case scenario is that there’s all sorts of valid criticism and nothing happens,” he said.
The effort to identify Anne Frank’s betrayer was a project led by a company called Proditione, founded in 2017 by Pieter van Twisk, a media producer, and Thijs Bayens, a documentary filmmaker.
The project was financed by an advance from HarperCollins and a grant from the City of Amsterdam. Twisk did not respond to requests for comment for this article, and Bayens declined.
“The Betrayal” argues that its suspect, van den Bergh, had access to a list of Amsterdam Jews in hiding, compiled by the city’s Jewish Council.
The investigators produced no evidence that such a list had ever existed, nor has any scholar who has studied the Jewish Council ever seen one. Van Twisk, in an earlier interview with The Times, said there was “circumstantial evidence” that a list existed, but the three sources whose testimony he cited were all known Nazi collaborators.
Van der Boom said he found this to be the most offensive aspect of “The Betrayal of Anne Frank” argument.
“What bothers me most is the idea that the Jewish Council would keep these lists of Jews in hiding is totally unfounded, and worse, very, very unlikely,” he said. “It’s almost unthinkable.”
Emile Schrijver, the director of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, said Ambo Anthos’s email to its writers was “an important first step, though made in a letter to the publisher’s own authors only, not in a news release or an official statement. It is vital that international publishers also reconsider and define their position now.”