Anne Frank: The Untold Story
The hidden truth about Elli Vossen, the youngest helper of the Secret Annex
By Jeroen De Bruyn & Joop van Wijk
Jeroen De Bruyn and I, as a publisher, fellow author, and son of the leading lady (who was silent for decades during her life), wrote a book about the life of a young, unknown woman as a helper of Jewish people in World War II.
Together with her father Johan Voskuijl, the maker of the revolving bookcase, and the other helpers, she worked day in, day out to guarantee the safety of the hiders in the Secret Annex in Amsterdam.
A “never before told story” and a “carefully hidden truth,” as well as “boundless loyalty in life” are three important issues. These issues and my mother’s underlying motivations form the mission of this book for young and old. www.annefranktheuntoldstory.com
This book is well written, easy to read, and especially educational for those who know little about the Holocaust. It answers many questions about those unsung heroes who helped hide the people in the hidden Annex from Anne Frank's Diary. It reveals the good in human nature, despite the evil perpetrated by the despicable person who reported the family to the Nazi's. If we do not want to repeat the past, we need to learn about it. Many people who lived in Europe during the Holocaust were reluctant to talk about their experiences, and we are most grateful to the two authors for their research in writing this excellent book. - Reader Review Amazon
Many facets about the hiders in the Secret Annex in Amsterdam have been highlighted throughout the years, but, remarkably enough, the role of Otto Frank's young secretary Bep Voskuijl, Elli Vossen in Anne Frank's Diary, has received very little attention. Belgian journalist Jeroen De Bruyn and Bep's son Joop van Wijk dove into her past and reconstructed her tragic, but fascinating life.
Bep is 23 years old when, in 1942, she is let in on the secret of the eight hiders on Prinsengracht. During the next 25 months, she becomes a pillar of support for Anne Frank, with whom she builds an intense friendship. Bep buys clothes and food for the hiders and supplies Anne with paper to write her diary. Things aren't easy for Bep: her father, the maker of the famous revolving bookcase, becomes gravely ill in 1943, and her sister collaborates with the Germans. Bep leads a double life, keeping this secret from her boyfriend and family. When the Germans raid the hiding place on August 4, 1944, and arrest the hiders, Bep escapes in horror. Later, she rescues a large part of Anne's writings. The news of te deaths of seven out of the eight hiders - only Otto Frank returns from the concentration camp - leaves deep scars.
Anne Frank, The Untold Story casts a new light on Anne Frank's short life, by means of previousy unknown witnesses and documents. That makes this book a valuable addition to her world-famous Diary. Moreover, it's a tribute to those brave Dutch people who risked their lives to save Jews. Finally, the book adds a remarkable name to the list of people who could have betrayed the hiders of the Secret Annex.
For more information: www.annefranktheuntoldstory.com
Reviewed in the United States on August 30, 2020
I would say this is the most personally and emotionally revealing book related to Anne Franke and her helpers that I've read since reading the diary itself. There was a mountain of information here related to Bep, her family, and her conscientious care and love for Anne and the others in the Annex. There were also many new insights into the identity of the family's betrayer. I was fascinated with the story, and the characters and read the entire book in a 24 hour period. The English translation was masterfully done, and made this quite an easy read.
Published 2018 (Bep Voskuijl Producties BV)
ISBN: 9789082901306 - 268 pages - Paperback
Rights: World (excl. World English)
Joop van Wijk (1949) is Bep Voskuijl’s youngest son. As a marketing manager, he was connected to Dutch newspapers NRC Handelsblad and Algemeen Dagblad for years.
Jeroen De Bruyn (1993) wrote for various Belgian magazines and for the Gazet van Antwerpen, the newspaper for which he is currently editor.