The mystery of who betrayed Anne Frank and her family may finally be solved.
A new study conducted by the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam says the hiding place of the Jewish teenager and her family may actually have been found by accident.
In 1944, German police discovered Anne Frank and seven others in hiding and sent them to concentration camps. Everyone except Otto Frank (Anne's father) died before the camps were liberated, including Anne who died of typhus at age 15 at Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany.
Until now, it was assumed that members of the Sicherheitsdienst (German Security Service) found them because a traitor had shared information about the Secret Annexe, the group's hiding spot behind a movable bookcase, the Anne Frank House says. Otto Frank was always convinced they had been betrayed, the museum said, and he spent the rest of his life trying to figure out who tipped off the Nazis.
But the recent study offers a new perspective: the Germans raided 263 Prinsengracht for a different reason - and stumbled upon Anne Frank and seven others in hiding by coincidence.
The authors examined new and existing information, including Anne Frank's diary, for clues. They came to the conclusion that the Germans were at the property not because someone betrayed the Franks, but in search of illegal employment and ration coupon fraud.
Anne frequently wrote about arrests involving illegal trade of ration coupons in her diary, the study says. “B. and D. have been caught, so we have no coupons,” she wrote on March 14, 1944.
“This clearly indicates that the people in hiding got at least part of their ration coupons from these salesmen,” the study states. The report also notes that the police spent more than two hours at the house, which is longer than it should have taken to arrest people hidden in the annexe.
You can read the full investigative report for more details about how they came to the conclusion.