famous diary captured two years of hiding in the attic above the store,
but it ended on August 4, 1944, when their hiding place was betrayed. It
was an anonymous phone call which led the Nazis to the secret annex.
On that warm summer day in 1944, four German and Dutch security police
pulled up to the warehouse at 263 Prinsengracht and asked the employee,
Willem Van Maaren, where the Jews were hiding. Van Maaren pointed up the
stairs, but the police already seemed to know exactly where to go.
Hours earlier, Karl Josef Silberbauer, the Austrian commander of the
squad, received a phone call from the head of the Amsterdam security
police who said eight Jews were hiding in the warehouse. After the arrest
they were all transported to a prison in Amsterdam, then to the camp
almost 60 years, the identity of that informant, whose call had such
tragic consequences, has remained a mystery to historians.
For many years, the employee Van Maaren was the main suspect. Later one theory alleged the betrayer was Anton Ahlers, a business
associate of Otto Frank and a committed Nazi. A book by British author
Carol Ann Lee, published 2002 in Dutch and English, claimed Ahlers not
only turned in the inhabitants, but may have blackmailed Otto Frank for
years after the war, receiving payment for his silence about Frank's
business with Nazi Germany at the beginning of the Second World War.
The second theory pointed to a Dutch woman Lena Hartog-van Bladeren, one
of the cleaning women working in the office in front of the annex. No
evidence against her was uncovered, but a 1998 biography by Melissa
Mueller revived the charges, largely based on contradictions she found in
Hartog's statements to the police.
As the Gestapo men searched the annex for valuables such as money, the
briefcase in which Anne kept her writings was opened and the papers were
scattered on the floor. Little did these men realize the eventual value of
However, the two women, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl , had known of Anne's
intense feelings about these papers and gathered them up for safe keeping.