Wartime diarist Anne Frank may not have been betrayed to Nazi occupiers, but captured by chance, a new theory suggests.
Researchers for the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam believe the address was instead raided over ration fraud and the police who raided the secret annex may not of been looking for Jews, the BBC reports.
All of those in hiding at Prinsengracht 263 were transported to Auschwitz death camps.
Anne tragically died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp at age 15, only weeks before it was liberated by Allied forces.
Shortly before they were discovered, an anonymous caller had supposedly revealed details of their whereabouts to the Sicherheitsdienst or SD (German Security Service), but researchers have questioned this account.
They instead point to the possible theory it could have been part of an investigation into illegal labour or falsified ration coupons.
From March 1944 onwards, Anne repeatedly mentioned the arrest of the two men who dealt in illegal ration cards.
Martin Brouwer and Pieter Daatzelaar, referred to as ‘B’ and ‘D’ in Anne’s diary, were a pair of salesmen for a firm based at the same address they were hiding in.
Extracts from the diary suggested the Frank family got at least some of their food coupons secretly from these salesmen.
After a bit of digging by researchers, it was found that the police who found Anne and her family were not usually deployed to hunt down Jews in hiding and were normally used for cases involving cash and jewellery.
And to top this all off, they discovered that the police spent over two hours at the property – much longer than it should have taken to arrest those hiding in the annex.
“A company where people were working illegally and two sales representatives were arrested for dealing in ration coupons obviously ran the risk of attracting the attention of the authorities,” the report says.
No real conclusions have ever been drawn about who betrayed Anne Frank and her family to the Nazis, but this offers a fascinating new insight into what really could have happened on that fateful August day in 1944.