New book: Man who arrested Anne Frank served West German intelligence


BERLIN (JTA) — The man who arrested the family of Anne Frank in their Amsterdam hiding place 67 years ago worked for the West German intelligence agency for years, a new book has revealed.

SS Oberscharfuhrer Karl Josef Silberbauer, an Austrian-born Nazi, worked for the West German secret service, or BND, according to author Peter-Ferdinand Koch, whose new book, "Unmasked," documents the biographies of Nazi soldiers and SS members who ended up working as spies for the democratic state.

"It is outrageous and a disgrace to our country that the man who arrested Anne Frank and her family later worked for the BND, " Thomas Heppener, director of the Anne Frank Centre in Berlin, said in a statement Monday. The center is a partner to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

"I find it very regrettable that the BND has only been involved in the processing of its own history since 2010, thus providing cover to Nazi-era perpetrators," he added, while praising the work of Koch, a former editor at Der Spiegel magazine. Heppener urged the BND to speed up the release of more files on the Silberbauer case.

According to the Austrian daily Kurier, Silberbauer was in the Soviet occupation zone in Vienna after the war. He was imprisoned for 14 months but later released to the German authorities, who wanted to tap the former SS man as an intelligence officer. German and Austrian authorities used numerous former Wehrmacht soldiers and SS men as spies against the Soviet Union, Koch writes.

Koch reports that Silberbauer was a feared sadist. According to Haaretz, Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal located Silberbauer in October 1963. He was suspended from his job while an investigation was launched. Silberbauer died in 1972.

Anne Frank’s father, Otto, the only one in the family to survive the war, reportedly believed the informant who revealed the family’s hiding place deserved punishment more than Silberbauer, who was just following orders.

Recommended from JTA