Monday, January 18, 2010

Miep Gies: 15 February 1909-11 January 2010

This is long overdue.

Miep Gies, the last surviving helper who protected Anne Frank and seven others in the "secret annex" of an office building in Nazi-occupied Holland during WWII, passed away on January 11 at age 100. Between July 1942 and August 1944, along with colleagues Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, and Bep Voskujil, she had daily contact with the Frank family, the van Pels family, and Fritz Pfeffer, bringing them food, supplies, comfort, and news, and risking her own life to keep them safe. After their discovery in 1944, she narrowly escaped arrest and unsuccessfully tried to bribe a Nazi officer to set them free. She is also the also the one who discovered Anne's diary and kept it safe until she learned of her death.

After the war, she and her husband, Jan had one son, Paul. She was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1997 and for decades, provided Anne's readers with a window into her life and times.

I am only one of the countless people who have read, loved, and been moved by Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl. Without Miep and her awe-inspiring courage, we probably never would have known Anne and experienced her remarkable testament to the power of endurance, goodness, and hope during one of the darkest periods in human history.

With my thanks, rest in peace.

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