CST Blog

In memory and with everlasting gratitude

12 January 2010

Sadly, another witness to the reality of Nazism and the Holocaust has passed away. It is impossible for the imagination to grasp the scale of evil represented by Nazism and the Holocaust, but Miep Gies left the world a uniquely valuable legacy: for this woman not only helped to hide Anne Frank and her family, but also ensured that Anne's memoirs were passed to her father Otto Frank, after he survived Auschwitz.  


Yahoo News UK, carries the following report:

Miep Gies, the woman who hid the Dutch youngster Anne Frank's diary from the Nazis to become one of the world's most-read books, has died after a brief illness at the age of 100.

The Anne Frank Museum said that Gies, the last surviving helper of Anne and the people who shared her hiding place in an Amsterdam canalside house, died in the town of Hoorn on January 11.

It was Gies who guarded Anne's memoirs, and presented it to the girl's father, Otto, when he returned from the Auschwitz concentration camp at the end of World War II -- the only one of his family to survive.

In her diary, Anne Frank chronicled the details of her teenage life hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam from 1942 to 1944, when the Nazi secret police discovered her and her family's hiding place.

Anne and her sister later died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

The diary, first published in 1947, became one of the most renowned accounts of Jews hiding from Nazi persecution and has been translated into 70 languages.

Until she suffered a stroke a decade ago, Gies travelled around the world, giving lectures about the consequences of intolerance and anti-Semitism, according to the Anne Frank museum.

"Anne Frank expressed a great wish to live on after her death. Miep Gies saw it as her duty to help in making this happen," it said in a statement.

Born Hermine (Miep) Santruschitz in Vienna in 1909, Gies moved to the Netherlands at age 11.

In 1933, she began working for Otto Frank at his Opekta trading company.

At great risk to her own safety, she and four other helpers brought food and supplies to the Frank family and other individuals hiding in a secret annex of Opekta's office building for more than two years.

When she turned 100, Gies sought to play down her own role.

"I'm not a hero," she said.

"It wasn't something I planned in advance, I simply did what I could to help."

She suffered a stroke at the age of 89 which seriously affected her speech and writing, and forced her to stop her activities.

On her 90th birthday, she bought a house with a garden in Hoorn in the west of the country, where she lived out the last years of her life. She celebrated her 100th birthday on February 15, last year.

"Right until the end, Miep remained deeply involved with the remembrance of Anne Frank and spreading the message of her story," the museum statement said.

"Everyday she received letters from all over the world with questions about her relationship with Anne Frank and her role as a helper."

Gies received numerous honours for her role, including from the Netherlands, Germany and Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre.

"Of course it's nice to be appreciated. But I only did my duty to my fellow man. I helped people in need. Anyone can do that, can't they?" Gies said.

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