For Publishers Weekly, I interviewed the son of one of Anne’s protectors and his co-author on a new betrayer theory, life inside the annex, and second-generation Holocaust trauma.
Anne Frank and her family were hidden in an annex at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam for 761 days between 1942 and 1944 before an unknown informant betrayed them to the Nazi occupiers. Since then, a great deal has been written about Frank and her famous diary, including books speculating on who tipped off the Nazi authorities. However, little is known about the life of Elizabeth “Bep” Voskuijl, the youngest of the five Dutch people who hid the Frank family. Her story, and the trauma it inflicted on her family, is the subject of a new book, The Last Secret of the Secret Annex: The Untold Story of Anne Frank, Her Silent Protector, and a Family Betrayal (Simon & Schuster, May 16, 2023).
The book, a collaboration between journalist Jeroen De Bruyn and Bep’s son Joop van Wijk-Voskuijl, examines Bep’s role in supplying the Frank family with food and comfort while keeping her involvement a secret from everyone she knew. And they explore the possibility that Bep’s sister, Nelly Voskuijl, may have been the one who leaked the Frank family’s hideaway to the Nazis.