By Kali Kushner | Culture Editor

Early last week, the Guardian published an article regarding the recent re-opening of an infamous cold case over seventy years in the making. Anne Frank, a name recognized around the world, recorded her family’s years of hiding during the Holocaust, along with her remarkable insight into the nature of man during wartime. In 1944, Annelies Marie Frank and her family were arrested by the Gestapo in Amsterdam; someone had exposed the family’s hiding place. The family, like many other Jews, was then sent to various concentration camps to face genocide at the hand of Nazi Germany. In March of 1945, at only sixteen, Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. The camp was liberated by Allied forces a month later.

Despite the worldwide recognition that followed the publication of Frank’s diary, “The Diary of a Young Girl,” it has never been discovered how the Frank family was ultimately confronted by the Gestapo. Was it betrayal or a tragic account of chance? 

In December, the Anne Frank House museum released a report suggesting that the family had simply been found by chance rather than through betrayal, but the evidence was deemed inconclusive. Most recently, former FBI-agent Vince Pankoke was recruited to lead a crowdfunded project to solve the cold case. Scouring through the United States National Archive and records maintained by a German security service, Pankoke is dedicated to settling the case for good. In his interview with The Guardian, Pankoke explained, “We are not trying to point fingers or prosecute. I am just trying to solve the last case of my career. There is no statute of limitation on the truth.” Although the betrayal theory is the most widely believed, Pankoke is not limiting his investigation to prove any specific conclusion.

To finally solve the case, Pankoke and his team of investigators embrace a variety of available resources, such as creating potential scenarios using actors and even experimenting with an AI to sort through massive amount of data. Thijs Bayens, an independent filmmaker and organizer of the investigation, stated, “The amount of data is overwhelming. It is at least 20 to 25 kilometers of files at this moment, and we have just started. To try and make all this data relevant is quite complex, so we started to work on artificial intelligence algorithms to rule the data, as they say.”

While it’s remarkable for this case to be reexamined, it will certainly be a difficult task, one that has yet to achieve substantial results. Working together, Pankoke and Bayens aspire to present their findings by Aug. 4, 2019, the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Frank family’s capture. I wholeheartedly hope that the team is able to bring some closure to the memory of Anne Frank and the countless others that have been affected by the Holocaust. Anne’s story has touched the hearts of millions over the years, not only because of her tragic story or her talent for writing, but also because of the immortal wisdom expressed by someone so young. In light of recent events in the United States and abroad, I leave you with one of her most notable quotes, although I believe everyone can find something to identify with in Anne’s work.

“I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart…I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”

To find more information regarding the project, visit www.coldcasediary.com

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