Tuesday, January 12, 2010

May The Goddess Guard Her. May She Find Her Way To The Summerlands. May Her Friends And Family Know Peace.

Miep Gies, who helped to hide Anne Frank and who saved her diary, passed away at 100.

Born in Vienna to Christian parents on February 15, 1909 with the name of Hermine Santruschitz, she moved to Leiden in 1920 to escape food shortages and was raised by a Dutch family who moved to Amsterdam two years later and nicknamed her Miep.

She started work as an office assistant at a textile factory but lost her job in 1933 as the economic crisis deepened. She then came under the employment of Anne's father, Otto Frank, who was director of a pectin producing company.

Gies avoided deportation to Austria by marrying her Dutch boyfriend, Jan, in 1941. Their son Paul was born in 1950 and they lived in Amsterdam until 1993, when Jan died at age 87. Paul has now opened a condolences register on his website.

Gies and her husband became family friends with the Franks and when Otto asked for help, they agreed to hide him and his family at the secret annex, bringing them daily groceries and providing a link to the outside world.

In August 1944, after 25 months in hiding, the Frank family were arrested but an Austrian SS officer spared Gies from captivity out of sympathy on condition she promised not to flee.

Gies found Anne's diaries in the debris left by the raid and kept them in her desk drawer without ever reading them. After the war ended, when it became clear that Anne was not coming back, she handed them over to Anne's father.

She received honors from several governments and institutions, and last year had an asteroid named after her by the International Astronomical Union.

May we all be as brave when life demands it.

More here.

Picture found here.


Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Great post. The Summerland is richer for her company. :-)

Anonymous said...

I had the amazing honor of hearing her speak about 10-15 years ago. She was both humble and gracious.


nanoboy said...

A hero of the highest calibre, certainly.