The Anne Frank Case: Simon Wiesen­thal’s Search for the Truth

Susan Gold­man Rubin; Bill Farnsworth, illus.
  • Review
By – January 16, 2012

After sur­viv­ing the Holo­caust, Simon Wiesen­thal had two goals: to bring Nazi crim­i­nals to jus­tice and to leave a his­tor­i­cal record of eye­wit­ness accounts of Nazi crimes. He set up offices in Linz, Aus­tria. When a per­for­mance of The Diary of Anne Frank was staged in the city in 1958, it was dis­rupt­ed by boo­ing and asser­tions that the diary was a forgery and a fraud. Using his pho­to­graph­ic mem­o­ry and inves­tiga­tive skills, Wiesen­thal set out to find the Gestapo offi­cer that had arrest­ed the Frank fam­i­ly. He inter­viewed peo­ple in Hol­land, searched tele­phone books, and asked friends for help. It took five years, but in 1963, Karl Sil­ber­bauer came for­ward as the offi­cer who had arrest­ed the Franks. Otto Frank had known his name, but with­held it because Sil­ber­bauer had treat­ed the fam­i­ly with respect. The offi­cer was cleared of any guilt because there was no evi­dence that he deport­ed the Franks. Wiesen­thal con­tin­ued his inves­tiga­tive work until his death in 2005

Bill Farnsworth’s illus­tra­tions, with the mut­ed palette and shad­owy effects, are a per­fect com­ple­ment to Rubin’s straight­for­ward prose. A bio­graph­i­cal note details Wiesenthal’s life before, dur­ing, and after the Holo­caust. Depic­tions of Wiesen­thal in con­cen­tra­tion camps and Anne Frank and her fam­i­ly being arrest­ed, as well as the descrip­tions of these events, make this illus­trat­ed book appro­pri­ate for read­ers aged 10 and up.

Kathe Pinchuck, M.L.I.S., is the librar­i­an of Con­gre­ga­tion Beth Sholom in Tea­neck, New Jer­sey. She is cur­rent­ly the chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries.

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