Anne Frank, a Cold Case?

Published: 2017-10-05

A former FBI agent named Vincent Pankoke has set up a website and is trying to raise money to “crack the case of Anne Frank,” specifically trying to identify who was behind "the betrayal that led to her death in a concentration camp." He is trying to fund it to the tune of $5 million. 

As Pankoke's website puts it,

"On August 4, 1944, after more than two years in hiding at the Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam, Anne Frank was arrested. What led to the arrest remains unclear to this day. Betrayal seemed to be the only logical conclusion, but by whom and why?"

In fact, the cause of the raid is pretty clear and had to do with a black market food and fake ration card ring centered at the Gies & Co building and involving Otto Frank's food related business Opekta. 

In March 1944, two Opekta employees, Martin Brouwer and Pieter Daatzelaa were arrested in March 1944 for dealing in counterfeit ration cards. They worked in the same building as the Annex. Brouwer was arrested in Zwolle and Daatzelaar in Haarlem. Police reports confirm this: Brouwer was found with 140 food stamps in his pockets. According to two local Zwolle newspapers, the Provinciale Overijsselsche and the Zwolsche Courant, in articles dated 17 August 1944, ten butchers had sold him meat coupons. The butchers were given fines of up to 250 guilders, while Brouwer was fined 800 guilders. For reasons unknown, the case against Daatzelaar was dropped.

The Diary also indicates the use of illegal stamps. In March 1944, an entry mentions the arrests of “B and D” (Brouwer and Daatzelaar.) 

Analysing police reports and judicial documents, the researchers recently found that the police who discovered Anne and her companions were not generally employed to hunt down Jews in hiding.   Instead, they had worked on economic crimes; cases involving cash, securities and jewelry.

Dutch ration cards

The researchers also noted that the police spent over two hours at the property - longer than it should have taken to arrest those cornered in the annexe.

Other evidence shows that people linked to Prinsengracht 263 had been punished by the Netherlands' Nazi occupiers for evading work.

The researchers wrote

"A company where people were working illegally and two sales representatives were arrested for dealing in ration coupons obviously ran the risk of attracting the attention of the authorities."

When Otto Frank was discovered in hiding, he and his family were illegal aliens in Holland with a string of legal violations by Otto Frank, including strong connections with a counterfeit ration card operation and a violation of an order to show up for draft labor.

Otto Frank


Additional information about this document
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Author(s): David Merlin
Title: Anne Frank, a Cold Case?
Published: 2017-10-05
First posted on CODOH: Oct. 5, 2017, 1:56 p.m.
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