Miep Gies, who hid Anne Frank and family, dies at 100
AMSTERDAM (WJC)—Miep Gies, the woman who helped the family of Anne Frank to hide from the Nazis and who saved the girl’s diary, has died in the Netherlands at the age of 100, following a brief illness. Gies was the last living member of the group who helped to sustain Anne’s Jewish family between 1942 and 1944, when they were discovered and deported to the Nazi concentration camps.
After World War II, Anne Frank’s account of life in hiding in occupied Amsterdam became a crucial document of Jewish suffering under Nazi persecution. “I am not a hero. It wasn’t something I planned in advance, I simply did what I could to help,” Gies was quoted as saying at her 100th birthday in February 2009. She tirelessly promoted causes of tolerance and brushed aside the accolades for helping hide the Frank family as more than she deserved.
She was born in Vienna in 1909 and came to the Netherlands at the age of 11. In 1933, she started working in Amsterdam as a secretary to Anne’s father Otto, who had brought his family out of Germany when the Nazis took power in 1933.
When German troops occupied the Netherlands during World War II, Miep Gies – along with her husband Jan, Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler, Bep Voskuijl and Johan Voskuijl – helped the Frank family and four other people to hide in a secret annex at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. For two years, they supplied them with food and other essentials. By helping, they put their own lives at risk. In 1944, the Frank’s were denounced, arrested and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp where the family got separated. It is believed that Anne died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945. Her sister and mother also died. Her father Otto survived the Holocaust and returned to Amsterdam after the war.
Gies said she stored Anne’s diary in her desk in order to give it back to the girl at the end of the war. The diary of Anne Frank was first published in 1947 and later translated into more than 70 languages.
For her courage, Miep Gies – alongside the other helpers – was named a Righteous Gentile Among the Nations by Israel’s Holocaust Memorial institution Yad Vashem in 1973.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress