Researcher Keeps Frank Pages Secret
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ A former employee of the Anne Frank Foundation who has five missing pages of ``The Diary of Anne Frank″ says he’ll give them back _ but only if fellow Dutch scholars promote his Holocaust research in the United States.
Cor Suijk’s threats of academic blackmail in a television interview Monday evening have upset the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, which revealed the existence of the missing pages last week.
``We’ve asked a lawyer to try to find a way out of this,″ David Barnouw, spokesman for the war documentation center, said today.
Suijk claims that Otto Frank, father of the young Jewish diarist whose account of hiding from the Nazis has become an international bestseller in 55 languages, gave him the pages shortly before his death in 1980.
A longtime Anne Frank Foundation employee known to have been a close friend of Otto Frank, Suijk told RTL television Monday that the elder Frank made him promise the pages wouldn’t be published until the entire family was dead.
The war documentation center, which wants the pages back so they can be included in the next edition of Anne’s diary, contends that Otto Frank never intended to make a gift of them to Suijk.
Suijk, international director of the New York-based Anne Frank Center USA, a sister organization of the Amsterdam foundation, did not return phone calls seeking comment today.
Former colleagues, meanwhile, defended his decision to withhold the pages for almost two decades, denying media claims that Suijk is more concerned with self-promotion than remaining true to Otto Frank’s wishes.
``He is beyond a shadow of a doubt a man of integrity,″ Gerrold van der Stroom, a co-editor of ``The Diary of Anne Frank _ The Critical Edition,″ told the daily De Volkskrant.
The war documentation center, citing the diary copyright held by the Basel, Switzerland-based Anne Frank Fund, will say only that the handwritten pages appear to be authentic and contain Anne’s ``very critical″ assessment of her parents’ marriage.
Suijk said their contents will be revealed Sept. 14 in a Dutch documentary about Anne’s two years in hiding in a secret annex behind a movable bookcase in an Amsterdam canal house.
He told RTL he was willing to part with the pages, but only if the war documentation center agrees to support his own independent research into the Holocaust and promote it in America.
The diary, a modern literary classic that has become required reading in schools worldwide, has inspired numerous books, films and a hit play.