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Nazi Germany: Anne Frank: The investigation into the betrayal of the famous diarist remains open after nearly 80 years | USA

It has been nearly 78 years since the Nazis discovered the hideout being used by Anne Frank, her parents, her sister and four other people, on August 4, 1944. Hidden in an annex of a house on the canals of Amsterdam, after their capture they were sent to the concentration camps and only Anne’s father, Otto, survived. Anna and her sister, Margot, perished in Bergen-Belsen in 1945. Their mother, Edith, was killed at Auschwitz. According to historians, almost 28,000 Dutch Jews went into hiding like the Franks during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. Around 12,000 of them were hunted down by the Nazis and suffered fates similar to those of Anne and her family and friends. The diary written by the young Anne during that time has become one of the best-known symbols of the Holocaust, and her name is synonymous with an unsolved case. No records of the search that led to their arrest remain and there are some 30 theories as to who might have tipped the occupiers off, if it was the work of collaborators or whether it was simply a raid related to the black market in ration cards.

A new book titled The Betrayal of Anne Frank, by Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan, details a six-year investigation carried out by an international team of researchers that suggests a Jewish notary named Arnold van den Bergh may have been the person who gave the Franks away. His name appears on an anonymous note received by Otto Frank after the war, and the researchers believe Van den Bergh may have acted to save his own family. Among the team members was Vince Pankoke, a former FBI agent. Van den Bergh was a member of the Jewish Council, an organization that kept lists of those in hiding and was forced to make them available to the Nazis before being sent to the camps themselves in 1943.

However, the conclusions of the investigation have been met with skepticism by Dutch historians, and the publishing house that printed the book in the Netherlands, Ambo Anthos, has since issued an apology, stating it should have taken a more “critical stance” and suggesting it will delay a second print run until concerns over the book are addressed.

In 1934, Otto and Edith Frank moved their family to the Netherlands from Frankfurt after Adolf Hitler gained power. Anne was four years old and Margot, seven. Once in Amsterdam, they installed themselves in a newly built neighborhood where many more Jewish families lived under the same circumstances. Otto found work at Opekta, a company that sold the fruit extract pectin for use in jam and which was headquartered at Prinsengracht 263. Almost a decade later, the rear annex of the building would become the hideout of the Frank family and Hermann and Auguste van Pels and their son Peter. Fritz Pfeffer, a dentist, completed the group of eight who took shelter from the terror of the Gestapo in the heart of the Dutch capital.

The original copy of Anne Frank’s diary, on display at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
The original copy of Anne Frank’s diary, on display at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.Anne Frank House

The German army invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940, and Otto immediately started making plans to move the family into the 50-square-meter annex, eventually doing so two years later. According to Johannes Houwink ten Cate, a specialist in the study of the Holocaust, Otto Frank “spread the word that they had left for Switzerland and went into hiding with his entire family in July 1942.”

“It was not an act typical of the time, as children were often separated from their parents because they had more chance of survival that way,” Ten Cate tells EL PAÍS. Jewish children were sent to places far away from their homes based on their appearance. As such, “a darker child would pass unnoticed in the south, whereas a blonder child would do so in the north, and Otto Frank was taking a risk by keeping everyone together. Although it is the case that he managed to hide them for two years,” says the historian.

On the morning of August 4, 1944, German police under the command of Austrian SS Sergeant Karl Silberbauer, raided Prinsengracht 263 and found the Franks and their companions. The Anne Frank House Museum says there are no official documents regarding the arrest, but Otto Frank and five people who helped the family during their hiding in 1945 identified the two Dutch agents who had been present from photographs. In her biography of Otto Frank, Carol Ann Lee suggests Tonny Ahlers, a member of the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands (NSB), informed the Gestapo of the whereabouts of the Franks and their companions. However, Ten Cate notes: “It has never been proven that Ahlers knew about the annex. The same thing happened with Lena Hartog, the wife of a worker at the company. Melissa Müller, Anne Frank’s biographer, suggested she was the guilty party but there is no proof of that either.”

Another suspect is Ans van Dijk, a Jewish woman who revealed several hideouts having helped to stow away people herself and who was executed as a collaborator in 1948. “That has also never been proven. The desire to know is one thing, but to really know the truth is quite different,” says Ten Cate, who believes the international investigation that forms the basis of Sullivan’s book did good work in analyzing and discarding numerous theories, including a telephone call from an informant received by Willy Lages, the chief of the SS security service in Amsterdam. But the historian maintains that they are mistaken to point the finger at Arnold van den Bergh.

A memorial to Anne Frank and her sister Margot at Bergen-Belsen.
A memorial to Anne Frank and her sister Margot at Bergen-Belsen.sean gallup

The Betrayal of Anne Frank centers around the anonymous note received by Otto Frank after the war, which named Van den Bergh as the informant due to his place on the compromised Jewish Council. The Nazis drew up a register of all Dutch Jews and the researchers assume that Van den Bergh had access to the lists of those in hiding. “They maintain that he handed these over to protect his family,” says Ten Cate. “It is naïve to imagine that the Nazis would respect a Jew for passing them information during the biggest genocide in history. Even though Van den Bergh faked documents to pass himself off as half-Jewish to avoid deportation, when they found out he had to go into hiding with his family. It was February 1944 and Anne Frank was discovered in August of the same year. I don’t think it was the notary, who died in 1950, but his reputation is stained forever. The Jewish Council was heavily criticized after the war for the role it played as an instrument in the hands of the occupiers, but I have never heard anything about them having lists of hidden Jews.”

The problem, Ten Cate adds, is that publicity is already in overdrive. “Netflix is also behind this; but the reality is that life under the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands was so complex that it surpasses any fiction.”

Another name that has cropped up over the years is that of Willem van Maaren, a stockroom manager at Opekta. However, he was investigated after the war to no avail. It is also noteworthy that two people involved with those helping to hide the Franks were arrested for their activities on the black market.

Otto Frank shows the late Queen Juliana of the Netherlands the bookcase that led to the secret annex on the 50th anniversary of Anne Frank’s birth.
Otto Frank shows the late Queen Juliana of the Netherlands the bookcase that led to the secret annex on the 50th anniversary of Anne Frank’s birth.Bettmann (Bettmann Archive)

In the view of historian Bart van der Boom, despite The Diary of Anne Frank first being published in 1947, it was the eponymous 1955 theatrical work and George Stevens’ 1959 movie that catapulted her to global fame. “For an American, the story of the Holocaust is the story of this young girl, but her story is no more valuable than other Jews in the same situation. Today she is almost a brand, and it tempting to present an eye-catching conclusion after a new search for possible informers,” says Van der Boom. “After the war, the Jewish Council got very bad press, and German war criminals said its members had been traitors in order to defend themselves. As such, the accusation against the notary and the Council itself is irresponsible without solid evidence. It is possible that there wasn’t a betrayal, but now we are being told that one Jew informed on another and that can be used as an anti-Semitic stereotype.”

The theory that someone could have seen strange comings and goings at the annex from the backyard and called the police can also not be ruled out. Historian David Barnouw tells EL PAÍS that eight people hiding in a house for two years could easily have been spotted by a neighbor. “Over the past few decades, more than 20 people have been accused of being the possible traitor. Because we need a traitor. The new investigation says its findings have a probability percentage of 85%. For a historian, this is ridiculous.”

Barnouw suspects there will always be new theories about the tragedy of Anne Frank and her family, and puts forward a reflection on their years in hiding: “If they had not been discovered, would they have survived the winter of hunger in 1944?” he asks, in reference to the famine provoked by the Nazi blockade on food transportation in the west of the country after the Allies had liberated the southern Netherlands. It is estimated that 22,000 people died as a result. “There are many things that we will probably never know about this case.”

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Mexico City, the scene of revenge, blood and torture in the new installment of ‘Saw’ | Culture

Screenwriter Leigh Whannell was unhappy with the work he was doing and began to suffer from migraines. He was convinced he might have a brain tumor and went to a neurologist for an MRI. Sitting in the office, he thought, what if you were to receive the news that you had a brain tumor and were going to die soon? How would you react to that? Those thoughts led him to create the character of John Kramer, a cancer-stricken sociopath whose resentment and inordinate attachment to life turn him into a merciless judge, jury and executioner, allowing his victims to decide their lives and the lives of others through twisted games.

Along with his colleague filmmaker James Wan, Whannel thought outside the box. Both are avid consumers of horror films, and they came up with the idea of starting a movie with two men chained in a bathroom, with a corpse in between them, not knowing what the hell had happened; Kramer is behind them, pulling the strings that decide their fate. Thus, Saw was born in 2004. The movie was well received at Sundance and the Toronto Film Festival. Lionsgate invested a budget of barely $1 million in the project and ended up making over $100 million at the box office.

Saw X
A still shot from the film shows the outside of a building in Mexico City at night.Lionsgate

Eight sequels and $1 billion in revenues at the box office later, Saw is back with a new installment. This is the franchise’s tenth movie, its first in over seven years. This time, the action takes place in Mexico City, where Kramer—better known as serial killer Jigsaw—unleashes his revenge and bloody torture games once again.

Saw X takes place between the events of Saw (2004) and Saw II (2005). Desperate and sick, John Kramer (Tobin Bell) travels to Mexico to undergo an experimental and very risky treatment in the hopes of curing his deadly cancer. However, the entire operation turns out to be a fraud to deceive the most vulnerable. Filled with rage and a lurid new purpose, his new victims will face the most ingenious, deadly and torturous traps in a visceral and ruthless game.

Actresses Renata Vaca, Paulette Hernández and actors Octavio Hinojosa and Joshua Okamoto are part of the Mexican cast who will try to survive the games that Jigsaw has in store for them in Mexico City. Saw X director Kevin Greutert, who was the editor of six Saw films and also directed Saw VI and Saw VII 3D, says that the idea in the original script was initially for the movie to be filmed in Prague and Bulgaria, but ultimately Mexico was a “great choice,” and he could not imagine another version of the film without Mexican actors.

Saw X
Renata Vaca in the role of Gabriela.Alexandro Bolaños Escamilla (Lionsgate)

“There’s such mythology, the city is so amazing, and we can’t say enough about it. There’s something creepy about it, a certain history; it absolutely worked for us. I’m sure everyone knows that, but it’s the first time we’ve ever said where we are in a movie [in the Saw franchise]. And we really stand behind that,” Greutert says.

Renata Vaca, 24, who is also a musician, says she was 9 years old when she first watched Saw in the U.S. She saw it with her uncle, a fan of horror movies. Billy, the puppet, Jigsaw’s avatar in the films, caught her attention. “My uncle told me, ‘Dude, don’t wuss out on me.’ So, we saw it, and I was really scared. But look, it’s intense, and now here we are.” The actress, who will soon appear with Yalitza Aparicio and Diego Calva in Midnight Family, emphasizes that the film is like a trip back to the Mexico of 20 years ago, which can be seen in certain details like the clothing and yesteryear’s green and white cabs. “I had to do a lot of research for the role. It’s cool because you’ll feel like you’re in 2000s-era Mexico,” she says.

Saw X
Joshua Okamoto in the role of Diego.Lionsgate

Okamoto, who was in the sequel to Sexo, pudor y lágrimas (Sex, Shame & Tears) and has Netflix and HBO Max projects in the works, admits that he hadn’t had a chance to see Saw before he was cast in the film. However, he does remember the Saw promotional poster and how it was illustrated: it had the piece of a calf with a foot and the fragment of a hand. “I felt very frightened when I saw the poster, and it left a very unpleasant feeling in my chest and stomach,” he recalls.

The first Saw film began with touches of gore and, according to several specialists, it later evolved into torture porn, because it uses violence to titillate the audience as if they were experiencing a sexual act.

In Saw X, Mexico becomes another character and influences different aspects of the narrative. “One of the great successes of this latest installment is that they manage to portray Mexico as another character. You can feel the city in the background, the textures, the colors. We are not only a country…there is a very folkloric culture, from the rituals of the Aztecs onward [and] some elements naturally sneak into the plot. In the traps, there are also, let’s say mythological, references that are part of urban legends, iconography, evidence of pre-Hispanic influences,” Okamoto explains.

Saw X
Octavio Hinojosa in the role of Mateo.Lionsgate

With the exception of Octavio Hinojosa, none of the actors had ever been in a horror film before. All three agree that the biggest challenge in this film was keeping their emotions at full throttle during the 12-hour call. “That’s screaming, running, sweating, hyperventilating. The most difficult thing was to sustain those states,” says Okamoto. Vaca agrees with him: “You have to be all in, with your entire body, [and be] very open to what is happening in the moment, because sometimes what happens goes beyond what you had thought.”

“It was like doing theater… being there all the time, being seen all the time. It was very tiring, very exhausting. Emotions become real when they go through one’s body. There’s a part of you that says, ‘I’m in a [fictional story],’ but you do get upset. You do get scared. You do cry and you do experience it. That is very, very exhausting, but we actors are a little masochistic; we enjoy being on the edge of emotions, and at the end of a call, when you do things right you say: ‘Very good, I did it. That’s great,’” Hinojosa concludes.

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“The Creator”: A Glimpse Into A Future Defined By Artificial Intelligence (AI) Warfare

By Cindy Porter

In “The Creator” visionary director Gareth Edwards thrusts us into the heart of a dystopian future, where the battle lines are drawn between artificial intelligence and the free Western world.

Set against the backdrop of a post-rebellion Los Angeles, the film grapples with pressing questions about the role of AI in our society.

A Glimpse into a Future Defined by Artificial Intelligence (AI) Warfare

A Glimpse into a Future Defined by Artificial Intelligence (AI) Warfare

While the narrative treads familiar ground, it is timely, given the rising prominence of artificial intelligence in our daily lives.

A Fusion of Genres

Edwards embarks on an ambitious endeavor, blending elements of science fiction classics with contemporary themes.

The result is a cinematic stew reminiscent of James Cameron’s “Aliens” tinged with shades of “Blade Runner” a dash of “Children of Men,” and a sprinkle of “Akira” This concoction, while intriguing, occasionally veers toward familiarity rather than forging its own distinct identity.

Edwards’ Cinematic Journey

The British filmmaker, known for his foray into doomsday scenarios with the BBC docudrama “End Day” in 2005, has traversed a path from indie gem “Monsters” (2010) to the expansive Star Wars universe with “Rogue One” (2016).

“The Creator” marks another bold step in his repertoire. The film introduces compelling concepts like the posthumous donation of personality traits, punctuated by impactful visuals, and raises pertinent ethical dilemmas. It stands as a commendable endeavor, even if it occasionally falters in execution.

Navigating Complexity

In his pursuit of depth, Edwards at times stumbles into the realm of convolution, leaving the audience grappling with intricacies rather than immersing in the narrative.

While adept at crafting visual spectacles and orchestrating soundscapes, the film occasionally falters in the art of storytelling.

In an era where classic storytelling is seemingly on the wane, some may argue that this approach is emblematic of the times.

AI: Savior or Peril?

“The Creator” leaves us with a question that resonates long after the credits roll: Will artificial intelligence be humanity’s salvation or its undoing? The film’s take on machine ethics leans toward simplicity, attributing AI emotions to programmed responses.

This portrayal encapsulates the film’s stance on the subject – a theme as enigmatic as the AI it grapples with.

“The Creator”

Director: Gareth Edwards.
Starring: John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Madeleine Yuna Boyles, Ken Watanabe.
Genre: Science fiction.
Release Year: 2023.
Duration: 133 minutes.
Premiere Date: September 29.


Top 5 Movies by Gareth Edwards:

1. “Monsters” (2010)

– A breakout hit, “Monsters” showcases Edwards’ talent for blending intimate human drama with towering sci-fi spectacles. Set in a world recovering from an alien invasion, it’s a poignant tale of love amidst chaos.

2. “Rogue One” (2016)

– Edwards helms this epic Star Wars installment, seamlessly integrating new characters with the beloved original trilogy. It’s a testament to his ability to navigate complex narratives on a grand scale.

3. “End Day” (2005)

– This BBC docudrama marked Edwards’ entry into the world of speculative storytelling. Presenting five doomsday scenarios, it set the stage for his later exploration of dystopian futures.

4. “The Creator” (2023)

– Edwards’ latest venture, “The Creator,” immerses audiences in a future fraught with AI warfare. While not without its challenges, it boldly tackles pertinent questions about the role of artificial intelligence in our lives.

5. Potential Future Project

– As Edwards continues to push the boundaries of speculative cinema, audiences eagerly anticipate his next cinematic endeavor, poised to be another thought-provoking addition to his illustrious filmography.

“The Creator” stands as a testament to Gareth Edwards’ unyielding vision and his penchant for exploring the frontiers of speculative cinema.

While it doesn’t shy away from the complexities of AI, it occasionally falters in navigating its intricate narrative.

As we peer into this cinematic crystal ball, we’re left with a stark question: Will artificial intelligence be our beacon of hope, or will it cast a shadow over humanity’s future? Only time will unveil the answer.

We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— By Cindy Porter

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Why Most Men Don’t Carry A Purse

Men do not carry purses; that much is clear. In the last century or two they have carried wallets, briefcases, satchels or backpacks, always associated with their activity or profession, but never a purse, a bag with straps or handles full of their personal effects. Perhaps that is why, nowadays, a man hanging a purse from his shoulder unleashes some kind of physical phenomenon, a whirlwind of comments, raised eyebrows and criticism that, depending on the protagonist’s profile, can become more or less violent.

The case of some celebrities is different (just take a look at examples like actor Jacob Elordi and his Bottega Veneta Cassette Bag, or singer Harry Styles with his Gucci Jackie); after all, they live in another plane of existence and can do whatever they want. But why can they carry a purse and regular people can’t? Why is it so difficult to find an ordinary citizen who has incorporated a handbag into their daily life? Don’t they need to carry Kleenex, glasses, a charger, eye drops or any personal items?

British singer Harry Styles with a Gucci bag.
British singer Harry Styles with a Gucci bag.

The fact is that men’s bags went out of fashion more than 300 years ago, right around the time when pants began to become tight and one of the most practical inventions in the history of clothing became a regular feature: pockets. Up until then, men did carry bags, as ornate and spectacular as their social position demanded. “From classical antiquity to the Renaissance, small bags were a common accessory for men and women to carry coins,” explains Rosa Moreno Laorga, trend analyst, fashion consultant, teacher of art and fashion and sociology of fashion at the European Institute of Design in Madrid, Spain and author of Hacer de lo cotidiano un ritual contemporáneo: Ensayo sobre el origen de las tendencias (Turning the Everyday into a Contemporary Ritual, An Essay on the Origin of Trends). In fact, for much of history men were the ones who carried the purse, as they were the ones who carried the money. Women did not need one because they did not venture too far from home.

An independent accessory

At the end of the 19th century, the Rational Dress Society was founded in London. Along with the burgeoning women’s suffrage movement, it argued that women’s independence could not be achieved in a tight-fitting, pocketless dress. True liberation required loose clothing that allowed freedom of movement and pockets to keep necessities close at hand — including a revolver, if necessary. The movement did not address the matter of purses, but fashion knew how to read the times and when at the end of the century women were allowed to travel alone, Louis Vuitton began to sell large bags for women, positioning their products as a sign of female independence. They had compartments and zippers and radiated luxury.

The 20th century gave an important boost to the purse as a feminine accessory. In February 1955, Gabrielle Chanel created the 2.55 (a name inspired by the date of its creation). The bag, merely 7.5 inches long, was made of black padded leather with three pockets inside, two at both ends and a smaller one in the middle to store lipstick. That was the first modern handbag, a pioneer that included a revolutionary detail: two chains made of flat metal links that freed up the hands. That model, which continues to be reinvented today in different finishes, colors and materials, is still the French firm’s best-seller.

Jacob Elordi.
Jacob Elordi.

In the 1980s, when women entered the workplace en masse, they adopted men’s clothing (blazers, suits, pants). That was not only a practical decision, but also a reflection of the time (there were hardly any models of female leadership to draw inspiration from, or any corporate uniform comparable to the men’s suit). Work-related films of that era clearly reflect this aesthetic: while Melanie Griffith carried a huge brown leather bag all the way to the office in Working Girl (she needed something to carry the high heels she would wear at the office instead of the Reebok sneakers she arrived in), none of Tom Cruise’s bosses in The Firm had to carry anything in their hands. They simply did not need it: they had assistants — all women — to carry things for them.

The image of a man in a suit with nothing in his hands became the picture of success. Will we have to wait for the balance of power to shift for good before they are the ones to adopt feminine clothing as a symbol of power? Will those feminine items remain imbued with a certain disempowerment until then? Ana Velasco Molpeceres, journalist, professor at the Complutense University of Madrid and historian specialized in communication and fashion, who recently published Ropa vieja: Historia de las prendas que vestimos (Old Clothes: The History of the Clothes We Wear) finds in history the answers to why men still do not use purses: “Since the 19th century, bags have been associated with women. Therefore, they are categorized as a feminine accessory. For women, carrying a bag simply means being dressed like a woman and being able to carry their things comfortably. For men, carrying a bag means adopting a garment that is ‘problematic,’ because it is gendered.”

A symbol of male liberation?

Today, the big luxury brands are determined to get men to carry bags. Could this accessory become a symbol of male liberation, overcoming some stereotypes about how a man is supposed to act, dress and present himself to the world? Many young men, men involved in fashion and men who do not dress according to gender conventions do use it, but it is a minority.

“Without a doubt, breaking the norm regarding what is traditionally feminine or masculine always entails a new vision and a clear evolution in terms of the perception of conventional roles. These changes help to get rid of many limiting, harmful stereotypes, and I think using fashion as a tool that helps us be free is always commendable. A purse can be a symbol that helps us break the molds instead of fitting into them; don’t forget that Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent were the first to break sexual dimorphism by migrating garments from the male to the female wardrobe, thus creating new ways of being in the world for the women who took part in this transformation,” reflects Moreno Laorga.

Fashion is considered a language within an evolving culture; perhaps that is why it has been championing genderless styles and garments for several years now. We see artists, music stars and models carrying handbags at events and red carpets. Still, the reactions we see on social media reveal that, in some particularly conservative sectors, a man walking around with a bag is still not widely accepted.

“Gender roles continue to have a key and important weight in the media, advertising, movies and more. At first, an image whose pieces are not as expected is always disruptive, in this case a handbag (which is traditionally associated with the female universe) in the hands of a straight, cis man, but time will normalize the use of this accessory, in case it becomes popular and enters the norm,” says Moreno Laorga.

David Beckham in Paris in 2022.
David Beckham in Paris in 2022.

“Soccer players and other men wear sling bags, because they are part of the culture of luxury and opulence. In their case, carrying a bag is masculine because, in their iconography, it is something expensive and branded. It is associated with power. Just like jewelry or exaggerated hairstyles and aesthetics [tattoos],” explains Velasco Molpeceres.

“Currently, the trend towards genderless fashion leads us to think that whether it is a woman or a man, the symbolic weight of this accessory will be associated with its appearance, the value of the materials, the design style… aspects related to the object itself, more than the gender of the person who wears it. A good example of this is Telfar, the New York fashion brand that has managed to elevate its unisex bags to the category of icons by using this discourse,” says this expert.

Handbags belong to a category of accessories that respond to a certain functionality; a functionality that, in certain cases (as in the example of JW Anderson’s viral clutch bags that look like pigeons, cushions and more), evolves to the point of becoming decoration, points out Moreno Laorga. “Perhaps in the future, the handbag will go from being a container of belongings to a container of identities; a non-verbal language tool that serves to express aspects about the person who carries it and how they decide to carry it,” she says. Maybe, in the future, a bag will not aggravate people so much.

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