New Investigation into Anne Frank Cold Case

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October 31, 2017

A retired FBI agent is heading up a new investigation into the events that led to the death of Anne Frank, the young Holocaust victim whose diary has been read around the world.

Vince Pankoke, known for investigations into Colombian drug trafficking and the September 11 attacks, and a team of 19 experts will use new-age technology to go back over evidence unearthed in previous investigations, with the goal of shedding more light on how Frank and her family were betrayed.

On August 4, 1944, the Gestapo discovered the family's hiding place behind a movable bookcase in a warehouse in Amsterdam. Anne and her family were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Only her father, Otto, survived.

Otto Frank it was who edited and published Anne's diary, which has been read by millions of people in dozens of languages all over the world.

Among the modern techniques scheduled to be deployed is a combination of three-dimensional scanning and computer modelling to reexamine the layout of the building where the Frank family hid.

One purpose of that combination of techniques will be to determine how far sound could have traveled. One particular mention in Anne Frank's diary is of hearing a sudden knock on the wall and not knowing whether it was made by friend or foe. A friend might have been knocking to warn the family that they were making too much noise; a foe might have been knocking and then listening for some sort of sound in response.

The research will also include a reinvestigation of millions of pages of scanned documents at archives in Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, and the United States.

Just how the German special forces found about the Frank family's hiding place is still a mystery more than 70 years after the fact. Otto Frank long believed that someone betrayed his family. Investigations by Dutch national police forces in 1948 and 1963 focused primarily on Wilhelm van Maaren, a foreman in Otto Frank's warehouse, but found no compelling evidence to suggest a specific culprit(s).

The target date for a public report on progress into the cold case is August 4, 2019, which would be 75 years to the day that the Frank family were arrested.

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