The last guardian of the "Secret Annex" has passed away.
Jan 13, 2010
Miep Gies was a remarkable woman. Born Hermine Santrouschitz, moved with her foster family from Austria after World War I to the Netherlands. Miep and her husband Jan Gies were friends and coworkers of the Otto Frank and his family and helped to establish themselves in Amsterdam. During World War II, Miep and Jan along with several of the coworkers hid the Frank family along with the Van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer from the Nazi soldiers because they were deporting Jews back to Germany. The families hid in a secret room above the office building that Otto Frank used to work in. Miep and those that helped out hiding the families could have been sent to hard labor camps or shot for "harboring Jews". The Franks and Van Pels managed to escape from detection for over two years until they were caught, arrested and deported on August 4, 1944.
Before the secret annexe was cleaned out by the Gestapo, Miep took Anne Frank's diaries and other papers and hid them so she could return them to Anne after the war. Miep failed to bribe the Gestapo officers in a desperate attempt to free the captured families. When the war ended, Miep was sadden to learn that Anne died at Belsen (along with her mother and sister) and gave the diaries to Otto (who managed to survive the horrible conditions at Auschwitz). Otto transcribed and published them a few years later. Miep sought out a criminal trial for the person responsible for being a Nazi informant and telling the Gestapo about the hidden families. Several suspects were brought forward such as Willem Van Maaren (he was the most investigated suspect), Tonny Ahlers (a dutch Nazi and informant) and Lena van Bladeren-Hartog.. They were eventually cleared by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation.
Miep Gies was knighted by Queen Beatrix, awarded the Order Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and Yad Vashem medal. She also spoke frequently about her experiences with the Franks and about the secret annex. Miep has stated that she stands in a long line of what many good Dutch people would have done and regrets that about what has happened to her friends during the dark days of World War II. Miep was a brave woman who risked the threat of imprisonment and death to save her friends from death. If it wasn't for her, we wouldn't have Anne Frank's diaries, a document into life inside the secret annex. Miep Gies has been portrayed in films by actresses Dodie Heath (The Diary of Anne Frank), Anne Wyndham (The Diary of Anne Frank TV movie), Janet Amsbury (UK Mini-series) Lili Taylor (Anne Frank: THe Whole Story) and Mary Steenburgen (The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank).
Miep Gies was truly a brave soul. She, along with her husband Jan, were among the people in Europe that helped out the Jews during the darkest chapters of human history (Nazi rule and the Holocaust). Miep and Jan (along with other co-workers) helped out the Frank and van Pels family (and dentist Fritz Pfeffer) in hiding in Holland from 1942-44, and even though the people in hiding were unfortunately captured in August of 1944, Miep managed … more
Miep Gies (15 February 1909 – 11 January 2010) was one of the Dutch citizens who hid Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis during World War II. She discovered and preserved Anne Frank's diary after the Franks were arrested. Miep Gies was a Christian.