Vince Pankoke, a retired FBI agent who devoted a large portion of his career to investigating Colombian drug cartels, is now focusing on Anne Frank — particularly, who betrayed her and gave away the location of her hiding place.
He's always felt connected to WWII because his father and three brothers all served in the military. But it was during Pankoke's trip to the Netherlands with colleagues in 2005 that he first became interested in the mystery of Anne Frank's betrayer.
"We drove past the Anne Frank house. And it was at that time that they pointed to the house and informed me that the circumstances surrounding the arrest had never been solved. Well, that that never left me," he says.
So when he was offered the opportunity to assemble a team and solve the case, he took it.
The team has found crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence incredibly useful to gathering information. On the investigators' website, there is a section where people are able to submit information, tips and clues.
"The second and third generations out from World War Two are more willing to talk about what happened or what they've heard from their family members," says Pankoke. "We've already received hundreds of tips, several of which are from family members of suspects that have been named in previous investigations."
When it comes to solving this case, Penkoke says it's more than putting one of history's greatest mysteries to rest.
"It's just not about Anne Frank and the seven others. It's about all of those people that were betrayed or experienced the Holocaust. To me, that is very, very important," he says.
Listen to the full interview to hear how Vince Pankoke and his team are using artificial intelligence to investigate the case, above.
From PRI's The World ©2017 PRI