The Last Secret of the Secret Annex: The Untold Story of Anne Frank, Her Silent Protector, and a Family Betrayal

The Last Secret of the Secret Annex: The Untold Story of Anne Frank, Her Silent Protector, and a Family Betrayal cover

The Last Secret of the Secret Annex: The Untold Story of Anne Frank, Her Silent Protector, and a Family Betrayal

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A riveting historical investigation and family memoir that intertwines the iconic narrative of Anne Frank with the untold story of Bep Voskuijl, her protector and closest confidante in the Annex, bringing us closer to understanding one of the great secrets of World War II.

Anne Frank’s life has been studied by many scholars, but the story of Bep Voskuijl has remained untold, until now. As the youngest of the five Dutch people who hid the Frank family, Bep was Anne’s closest confidante during the 761 excruciating days she spent hidden in the Secret Annex. Bep, who was just twenty-three when the Franks went into hiding, risked her life to protect them, plunging into Amsterdam’s black market to source food and medicine for people who officially didn’t exist under the noses of German soldiers and Dutch spies. In those cramped quarters, Bep and Anne’s friendship bloomed through deep conversations, shared meals, and a youthful understanding.

Told by her own son, The Last Secret of the Secret Annex intertwines the story of Bep and her sister Nelly with Anne’s iconic narrative. Nelly’s name may have been scrubbed from Anne’s published diary, but Joop van Wijk-Voskuijl and Jeroen De Bruyn expose details about her collaboration with the Nazis, a deeply held family secret. After the war, Bep tried to bury her memories just as the Secret Annex was becoming world famous as a symbol of resistance to the Nazi horrors. She never got over losing Anne nor could Bep put to rest the horrifying suspicion that those in the Annex had been betrayed by her own flesh and blood.

This is a story about those caught in between the Jewish victims and Nazi persecutors, and the moral ambiguities and hard choices faced by ordinary families like the Voskuijls, in which collaborators and resisters often lived under the same roof.

Beautifully written and unsettlingly suspenseful, The Last Secret of the Secret Annex will show us the Secret Annex as we’ve never seen it before. And it provides a powerful understanding of how historical trauma is inherited from one generation to the next and how sometimes keeping a secret hurts far more than revealing a shameful truth.

Joop van Wijk-Voskuijl is the third of Bep Voskuijl’s four children. He was born in 1949 in Amsterdam. After a successful career as a video producer (creating corporate movies for major Dutch companies) and marketing manager (for newspapers such as NRC Handelsblad and Algemeen Dagblad), Joop retired in 2010 to pursue research and writing with the goal of telling his mother’s story. He also volunteers as a guest lecturer, teaching Dutch schoolchildren and other groups about Anne Frank, the Holocaust, and the resistance during World War II.

Jeroen De Bruyn was born in 1993 in Antwerp. At age fifteen—the same age as Anne when she died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp—Jeroen began doing original research on the Secret Annex. He got to know the Anne Frank House firsthand during an internship there in 2011. He went on to study journalism, subsequently contributing to prominent Flemish news magazines like Knack and Joods Actueel, and working as a senior editor for the major Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen

ISBN: 9781982198213

ISBN-10: 9781982198213

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 05/16/2023 - 12:00am

On Sale: 05/16/2023 - 12:00am

Pages: 288

Language: English

Categories

History / Modern / 20th Century / Holocaust

Biography & Autobiography / Historical

History / Wars & Conflicts / World War II