The director of HarperCollins Germany, Jürgen Welte, justified the decision to publish “The Betrayal of Anne Frank” by Rosemary Sullivan by stating that he wanted to allow “all interested readers […] to form their own independent opinion on the book and the media discussions associated with it,” he said in a press release.
They are currently working on a “corrected, supplemented and annotated German language edition”, the publisher added.
Following the controversy surrounding the book when it was published in English and other languages, HarperCollins Germany decided to postpone the publication of the German language version. Originally scheduled for March, the publisher has not yet announced a new release date.
Welte’s written statement goes on to say that she will not comment on the remaining questions “until the publication date of the book, which has not yet been set.”
Yves Kugelmann, editor of the Jewish weekly “Tachles”, remains skeptical. “HarperCollins Germany is inventing a new kind of book: the annotated edition of a book with hundreds of errors,” he told DW in an email.
“In a decent world, such a book would not be published because its content is wrong and it spreads rumors among the readership,” Kugelmann added. “Thus, the publisher becomes an accomplice of these revisionists who reinterpret history, put theses above facts and science behind them.”
What does the book say?
“The Betrayal of Anne Frank” was published in several languages in February. In it, author Rosemary Sullivan exposes the investigative work of a Dutch-American team led by former FBI agent Vince Pankoke.
The team claimed in February that they discovered who had betrayed Anne Frank and her family to the Gestapo in Amsterdam during World War II. A Jewish notary was named guilty, with “85% probability”. The presumption of innocence does not appear to apply in this case.
Reviewers found the book to be written in the style of a true crime story, and the investigators’ actions seem speculative and dubious.
Anne Frank’s diary has been read around the world
The debate so far
The book caused a heated debate in the Netherlands. Historians have found many factual errors. Jewish associations have also strongly criticized the publication of the book.
In response, Dutch publisher Ambo Anthos apologized for the publication and announced that it would not publish a second edition until the team of investigators answered the questions posed.
Anne Frank and her family were murdered in Nazi concentration camps in 1945. Only her father Otto survived, and after the war he published Anne’s diary, which has since reached millions of readers worldwide.
This article was originally written in German.