Four of Otto Frank's employees help the people hiding in the Secret Annex.

Four Employees

Miep Gies (left) and Bep Voskuijl.
  • Print

The people in hiding are helped by Otto Frank’s four employees: Miep Gies, Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler and Bep Voskuijl. Miep’s husband Jan Gies helps too; and Bep’s father Jan Voskuijl is also involved.

Anne writes:

'Never have they uttered a single word about the burden we must be, never have they complained that we were too much trouble. They come upstairs every day and talk to the men about business and politics, to the women about food and wartime difficulties and to the children about books and newspapers.'

Who is who?

The people in hiding and their helpers.

Main characters

The four helpers have worked at Opekta for some time: Miep Gies and Victor Kugler since 1933 and Bep Voskuijl since 1937. Though Johannes Kleiman only starts working at Opekta in 1938, Otto Frank has known him since 1923. There is a very friendly rapport between the director and the company personnel.

Severe Penalties

Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler are the first to hear about the plan to go into hiding. Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl are told somewhat later.

Otto Frank asks the helpers if they are prepared to help him and his family and the Van Pels family. "All four immediately agreed, though they were fully aware of the dangerous task they would be taking upon themselves them in doing so. By Nazi-law everyone helping Jews was severely punished and risked being put into prison, being deported or even shot," writes Otto Frank in a letter after the war.

The Front office Miep Gies, Bep Voskuijl and Jo Kleiman worked in this office (photo of the refurnished secret annex: Allard Bovenberg).

Completely dependent

From the moment they go into hiding, the Frank and Van Pels’ families - and later Fritz Pfeffer - are completely dependent on the four helpers. After July 6, 1942, the lives of Miep Gies, Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman and Bep Voskuijl are almost completely dominated by the inhabitants of the Secret Annex. Still, unlike the people in hiding, every now and then, the helpers can forget their worries with a short vacation, a film, or by going to visit acquaintances and friends.

Business as usual

While the people in hiding are living in the Secret Annex, Otto Frank’s business continues to operate as usual. The people who work in the warehouse on the ground floor are not aware of anything, except the warehouse manager, Johan Voskuijl, Bep's father. At the end of August 1942, he builds the movable bookcase to conceal the entrance to the Secret Annex.

The warehouse The warehouse employees haven't been told anything (photo of the refurnished secret annex: Allard Bovenberg).

The afternoon visit

During the day, the people in hiding must be very careful and quiet. The office employees must also not let on. In the afternoons, the warehouse personnel go home for a break. Then the helpers often go upstairs for a short while to eat some lunch with everyone in the Secret Annex.  Everyone in the Secret Annex waits impatiently for those visits.

Four Employees Four of Otto's employees help the people hiding in the Annex

The people in hiding are helped by Otto Frank’s four employees: Miep Gies, Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler and Bep Voskuijl...

More...

Many tasks From grocery shopping to raising morale

The helpers arrange food, clothes, books and all sorts of other necessities...

More...