‘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. They put on their most cheerful expressions, bring flowers and gifts for birthdays and special occasions and are always ready to do what they can.’- Anne Frank, 28 January 1944

The helpers

Portraits of the helpers
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Without the helpers it would have been impossible to go into hiding. They supply those in hiding with provisions and keep up their spirits

Miep Gies-Santrouschitz

15 February 1909 Vienna (Austria) – 11 January 2010 Hoorn

Miep works for Otto Frank’s business  from 1933. She makes friends with him and his family.

During the period in hiding Miep does the shopping with Bep. Miep buys meat and vegetables. Every Saturday she goes to the library to get books. She also functions as ‘post lady’ for Fritz Pfeffer and his fiancée Charlotte Kaletta.

Miep isn’t arrested during the raid. When she and Bep go into the Secret Annexe later they find Anne’s diaries. Miep keeps them in the hope that she’ll be able to return them to Anne later.

 

 

 

 

 

Bep Voskuijl

5 July 1919 Amsterdam – 6 May 1983 Amsterdam

Bep Voskuijl is 18 years old when she starts working at Opekta in 1937.

During the period in hiding she and Miep Gies do the shopping. Bep organizes milk, bread and household items. Through her sister she can sometimes get hold of medicines.

She also orders correspondence courses in her name: shorthand for Margot, Peter and Anne, and Latin for Margot. Bep is the youngest of the helpers and gets on well with Anne. She shares her passion for films.

Bep comes from a large family where there’s not always enough to eat. So now and again she eats with those in hiding.

When the Secret Annexe inhabitants are arrested on 4 August 1944 Bep is able to leave the office unnoticed.

Johannes Kleiman

17 August 1896 Koog aan de Zaan - 28 January 1959 Amsterdam

In 1923 Johannes Kleiman and Otto Frank become business partners. Over the years their friendship grows.

As Jews can no longer have a business, Kleiman becomes director of Opekta in December 1941. He keeps the business going during the entire period in hiding.

Johannes Kleiman helps to furnish the hiding place and keeps in contact with Otto Frank’s family in Basel. Kleiman’s wife knows about the people in the Secret Annexe and he often takes books from his daughter for Anne. Kleiman has a stomach complaint and is frequently ill.

On 4 August 1944 Kleiman is arrested at the same time as those in hiding.

 

Victor Kugler

6 June 1900 Hohenelbe (Austria-Hungary, now Vrchlabí, Czech Republic) – 14 December 1981 Toronto (Canada)

Victor Kugler settles in the Netherlands in 1920. In 1933 he joins Opekta.

During the period in hiding Victor Kugler keeps the spice trade Gies & Co going. He makes extra income for the people in the Secret Annexe by not entering transactions in the books. Furthermore he regularly takes newspapers and magazines for them. Kugler’s wife doesn’t know that he’s helping people in hiding.

When the Secret Annexe is raided on 4 August 1944, Kugler is arrested too.

 

 

 

 

 

Johan Voskuijl

15 January 1892 Amsterdam - 27 November 1945 Amsterdam

Johannes Voskuijl, Bep’s father, joins Opekta in 1941 as warehouse manager.

He keeps those in hiding up to date with everything going on in the warehouse. He removes the household rubbish from the Secret Annexe without the warehousemen noticing.

At Victor Kugler’s request Johan Voskuijl makes a bookcase in August 1942 which is placed in front of the door to the Secret Annexe.

From 1943 Johan Voskuijl is too ill to work. Willem van Maaren replaces him as warehouse manager but he does not know about those hiding in the Secret Annexe.  They and the helpers don’t trust him and this is a cause of extra concern.

 

 

Jan Gies

18 August 1905 Amsterdam – 26 January 1993 Amsterdam

Jan Gies makes friends with Otto Frank and his family through his girlfriend Miep Santrouschitz. Jan and Miep marry in 1941.

Around 1939 Jan gets a job at the Municipal Office for Social Services. Through his work he becomes involved with the resistance during the war. He’s able to get hold of extra food coupons thanks to his contacts.

To prevent the Germans taking over Otto Frank’s businesses, in 1941 Jan establishes with Victor Kugler a spice trade, Gies & Co, at no. 263 Prinsengracht. Jan becomes the supervisory director of this company.

He visits the Secret Annexe almost every day while the Franks and their friends are in hiding.

Jan isn’t present at the time of the arrest. After the war he never wanted to talk about his resistance work.

On 11 July 1943 Anne writes about Miep: ‘Miep has so much to carry she looks like a pack mule. She goes forth nearly every day to scrounge up vegetables and then bicycles back with her purchases in large shopping bags.’
On 9 August 1943 Anne writes about Bep: ‘Bep has a healthy appetite. She cleans her plate and isn’t choosy. Bep’s easy to please and that pleases us. She can be characterized as follows: cheerful, good –humoured, kind and willing.’
On 10 September 1943 Anne writes about Johannes: ‘As you know, we all like Kleiman very much. He's unfailingly cheerful and amazingly brave, despite the fact that he's always sick and in pain and can't eat much or do a lot of walking.’
On 5 August 1943 Anne writes about Victor: ‘Kugler hurries up the stairs, gives a short but solid knock on the door and comes in either wringing his hands or rubbing them in glee, depending on whether he's quiet and in a bad mood or talkative and in a good mood.’
On 15 June 1943 Anne writes about Johan: ‘Now the good man can no longer let us know what's being said and done in the warehouse, which is a disaster for us. Mr. Voskuijl was our greatest source of help and support when it came to safety measures. We miss him very much.’
On 5 August 1943 Anne writes about Jan: ‘A contented Mr. Gies sits on the divan or leans against the desk with his newspaper, cup and usually the cat at his side. If one of the three is missing, he doesn't hesitate to let his protest be heard.’

The helpers of the Secret Annexe Until april 2015

Throws light on the important role played by the people who made it possible for the Franks to go into hiding

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The helpers Without them it would have been impossible to go into hiding

They supply those in hiding with provisions and keep up their spirits

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Everything is rationed Provisions are scarce during the war

The helpers organize coupons for those in hiding and shop for groceries 

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Caring for those in hiding The helpers have many tasks

Such as writing to family members and keeping Otto’s businesses going

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Arrested On 4 August 1944 those in hiding are arrested

Of the helpers Victor Kugler and Johannes Kleiman are also picked up 

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