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Nazi Officer Who Arrested Anne Frank and Family Identified

Nov. 20, 1963 - The Nazi officer who put an end to the diary of Anne Frank by arresting her and her family in 1944 has been identified as a Viennese police inspector. The former Nazi, Karl Silberbauer (pictured in 1939), 52 years old, was suspended from the Vienna police force last month pending investigation and possible prosecution for his role in the Anne Frank case. Silberbauer was identified by Simon Wiesenthal, head of the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna. A spokesman for the Austrian Interior Ministry, which controls the police, said Silberbauer had admitted arresting the girl in August 1944, the fourth year of her hiding from the Nazi occupiers of the Netherlands. The spokesman added that the decision on prosecuting Silberbauer would depend on the results of the inquiry. Anne Frank was among eight Jews who took refuge in an attic in Amsterdam to hide from the Nazis. She died in the Bergen-Belsen camp in March 1945. Her father, the only one of the eight to survive, returned to Amsterdam after the war and found her diary. Silberbauer was a member of the Austrian police in 1938 when Hitler incorporated Austria into Germany. During World War II, he served in the Netherlands in the Gestapo’s Jewish Affairs Section, headed by Adolf Eichmann. This organization supervised the roundup and transporting of Jews to death camps. Officials of the Austrian Interior Ministry said today that Silberbauer had said he was merely following orders when he seized Anne Frank and the others in the Amsterdam attic. “He declared that for him, the Frank family was just one of many Jewish families who were rounded up by the Gestapo,” one official said. Silberbauer’s wife asserted that “he has not committed a crime.” “He was only acting on orders,” she added. “We all are very upset about this affair and about the press bothering us. We have a daughter living in the United States. Imagine what this will do to her. Why can’t you leave us alone?”

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