Miep Gies

Miep Gies in 1999 (Photo: Gon Buurman)
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Miep Gies died on 11 January. She was the only surviving and the most famous of the helpers who assisted Anne Frank and the others hiding in the Secret Annex. Until the end of her life, Miep was associated with the memory of Anne Frank and the significance of her diary. Every day letters arrived from all over the world asking about their relationship and the role she played as one of the helpers.  ‘I'm not a hero. It wasn't something I planned in advance, I simply did what I could to help.’  More than 2500 people left a message in the condolence book on the Anne Frank House’s website.

Miep Gies

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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.'

Hermine (Miep) Gies-Santrouschitz was born on 15 February 1909 in Vienna and came to the Netherlands as a child. In 1933, she began working for Otto Frank’s company Opekta as his secretary. When he approached her in the spring of 1942 to help him and his family while they were in hiding, Miep did not hesitate. With the other helpers, she provided all kinds of necessities to the people in hiding for more than two years. Shortly after the inhabitants of the Secret Annex were arrested on 4 August 1944, Miep Gies found Anne Frank’s diaries and notebooks and put them away for safekeeping. When Otto Frank returned after the war from Auschwitz, as the sole survivor of his family, she gave Anne’s writings to him.  

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. She's also the one who brings five library books with her every Saturday.

, 11 July 1943

As the fame of Anne Frank’s diary grew, Miep Gies’ courageous role also attracted worldwide attention. She was the recipient of numerous distinctions, including Israel’s Yad Vashem Medal and the Federal Republic of Germany’s Order of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz). In 1995, the Dutch Queen decorated Miep Gies with the Order of Orange-Nassau. She received the Goldener Rathausmann Award from her native city Vienna in 2009. 

The Anne Frank House was closely in contact with Miep Gies until the time of her death and she will be missed.

Without people like Miep and her husband and friends, in dark times, all hope would be lost.

, condolence book
Miep Gies in 1938.

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