On a cold winter morning in January 1948 a Jewish woman, Ans van Dijk, was executed in Fort Bijlmer near Amsterdam after being sentenced to death for collaboration with the German occupiers during World War II. The pivotal questions are why a Jewish woman was executed after the liberation and how she became involved in collaboration with the Germans during the war. Consulting the literature and sources on this topic reveal some astonishing facts which shed a different light on the fate of Dutch Jews in Holland in World War II.
Ans van Dijk
Anna (called “Ans”) van Dijk was born in 1905 to a Jewish family in Amsterdam. In 1927 she married to Bram Querido, and in 1940 her life took a dramatic turn when her father died in a mental hospital and she divorced her husband. Meanwhile the Germans had occupied Holland and she embarked on a lesbian relationship with the Miep Stodel. Stodel left her to flee to Switzerland and Van Dijk decided to go into hiding to evade deportation to Poland.
In 1943 Ans van Dijk was arrested by the German Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service—SD) and after she promised to work for the SD she was released. She posed as a member of the resistance who could provide hiding places and fake identity passes, but in reality she would report Jews in hiding to the SD. Van Dijk would not only evade deportation by her co-operation but was endowed with bounty money for everyone she turned in. She was the perfect agent because her Jewish appearance made her look trustworthy in the eyes of the resistance.
In the beginning she worked alone but after a while she surrounded herself with Jewish women who helped her. Meanwhile she picked up her life and started a lesbian relationship with Mies de Regt of Rotterdam, who knew about her work for the SD but kept silent. After the liberation the two women went into hiding in Rotterdam but were tracked down and arrested. Van Dijk was charged with the betrayal of around 700 persons.
How should we consider this number of 700 persons in the bigger picture of Jewish persecution? The most infamous ‘Jewhunter’ C.J. Kaptein, a gentile policeman, credited himself with rounding up 600 Jews when he stood trial after the war; like van Dijk, he was also sentenced to death. The case of Kaptein is widely published as a testimony that the Dutch police were complicit with the persecution of Jews during the war, while the case of Ans van Dijk almost descended into oblivion.
It was not until 1994 that the case of Ans van Dijk was extensively described in a publication written by Koos Groen and titled “When Victims become Traitors.” Groen asks why Anne Frank is known worldwide as a victim but why the treason of Ans van Dijk has been erased from the collective memory. Besides the extent of her betrayal, the fact that she was the only woman who was executed after the war should be enough to attract attention.
The reason for the oblivion of Ans van Dijk should be sought in the fact that the historiography of Holland during World War II has largely been written by Jews. The Jewish journalist Loe de Jong was appointed as the director of the State Institute of War Documentation and wrote the official historical account of Holland during World War II. In this account of over 15,000 pages there is not one word about the treason of Ans van Dijk; nor is her treason mentioned in other publications that focus on the Jewish persecution and are consider standard works, like De ondergang (The Downfall) from the Jewish professor Jacques Presser.
In 2010 Sytze van der Zee published his book Vogelvrij (Outlawed) on the hunt for Jews in hiding, causing a considerable stir in the media. Based on his research on the files in the State Institute of War Documentation, Van der Zee found that there were more Jews involved in the rounding up of Jews in hiding than was known previously. This means that under the guidance of Mr. de Jong, who died in 2005, this knowledge was withheld from the public until his image of the war and the persecution of the Jews was firmly imprinted into the collective mind.
In his book and also on national television (25 January 2010) Van der Zee also tries to answer the unresolved question of who betrayed the most famous Jewess in hiding, Anne Frank. He is fascinated by the case of Ans van Dijk and says that the more he investigates her case the more he is convinced that Ans van Dijk is the most probable candidate for the betrayal of Anne Frank. He has no evidence from the available sources, but the fact that Van Dijk’s cover was the support of Jews in hiding and she was operating in the very neighbourhood (Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht) where the Frank family was hiding points in his view in that direction.
The power of the Jewish persecution narrative lies into the sharp distinction between Jewish victims and non-Jewish perpetrators, the last group preferably portrayed as male White Christian patriots. The weakness of the Jewish persecution narrative lies in the complex reality in which allegiances can shift and the roles of victims and perpetrators are reversed. Imagine what would be left of this narrative if historical records would show or even suggest that its icon, Anne Frank, was betrayed by a lesbian Jewess?
Minorities like the LGBT movement go at great lengths to mirror their suffering during the war with the fate of the Jews. In 2002 Germany apoligized to the gay community and the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Holocaust which included homosexuals. The monument to commemorate the persecuted homosexuals during the war is located behind the Anne Frank House, an ironic fact in the light of Van der Zee’s theory.