Who betrayed Anne Frank?

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Unfortunately we can’t answer this one. There were suspicions about who the betrayer was and the first investigation took place in 1948.

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Anne Frank Guide

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Fifteen years later there was another attempt to establish who betrayed the Franks. However both investigations were inconclusive. The betrayer was not found.

Suspicions

It is not clear how the people in hiding were betrayed. Did one of the warehouse staff hear something? Or did someone find it suspicious that large amounts of things were bought and delivered? Did the neighbors notice that there were people hiding in the building?

Tip

Here you can discuss people’s motives with the class. Why did people betray Jews?

Why do children pose this question?

The question about who betrayed Anne Frank is the one that is most asked about her. It is understandable that children want to know this. It’s also a very good question because behind it lie other questions like: ‘why would someone do this?’ and ‘what happened to Anne Frank?’

Children very often have their own theories about the betrayer and how Anne died. Children are not totally ignorant about this part of the story they often know something about it.

What do you think?

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read other people's comments (4)

As someone who grew up two blocks from the Anne Frank house, I was of course fascinated by the story early on. I think it would be important to know for children what life in occupied Holland was like at that time, whereby anyone who 'collaborated' with an occupying force was rewarded (while food was becoming scarce and repression ever more brutal). It is entirely conceivable that someone who had to care for a family and would get extra food or better treatment would have been the culprit. Members of my own (older) family members were on the opposite sides of this spectrum as well, whereby those who might have helped 'resist', shunned those who 'collaborated' with the German forces well into the 1970's when I became first aware of the difference. What would the children do if given the choice between having their family starve or having them get food? Not an easy question to answer when someone is in the midst of years of oppression. It's easy to say '... I would do such and such...' but much harder when one lives through it.

Ben van Bergen, New York - United States - 4 Aug 2014

Every year my students focus on this question and are left frustrated by the lack of an answer. As a class we discuss possible motives people would have for turning against the Franks and other Jews. Inevitably, this leads us to question why anyone would ever betray another in any circumstance which then allows my students to recognize the betrayals committed or experienced in their own lives. Although the question of who betrayed the Franks remains unanswered, the students have a much better understanding of how their own beliefs, actions and inactions affect others.

Yvette Garza, 43 - San Benito - United States - 4 Aug 2014

The question of "why" is a very deep and thought provoking one, behind which lie social discourses, loyalties (and where they spring from), ideologies, even simple fear. This is something I would appreciate exploring further and I'm sure would be very meaningful in schools and with children and young people. Freedom Writers touches on this and is a brilliant movie.

Anna, 27 - Luton - United Kingdom - 4 Aug 2014

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