The company office

The office staff worked on the first floor of the main house. Miep Gies, Johannes Kleiman, and Bep Voskuijl worked in the front room, Victor Kugler worked in the back room. They had to keep the company running. And more importantly: they took care of the people in hiding in the Secret Annex.

The helpers divide the work

The office staff shared the care for the people in hiding: Miep took them vegetables and meat while Bep brought bread and milk Miep brought them books, and Bep registered for correspondence courses, to give the people in hiding something to do.

Meanwhile, Johannes and Victor focused on running the company. It is possible that part of the profits of Gies & Co. were used to finance life in hiding. Victor was also the one who brought them newspapers and magazines. Johannes supported the people in hiding in crisis situations, such as a burglary and a flea infestation. In addition, he sent postcards to Otto's sister and mother in Basel, Switzerland, between the lines letting them know that things were okay.

The office staff sometimes suffered from the tension that came with helping the people in hiding. At some point or other, Anne wrote about a nervous Kugler, Bep who suffered from a 'half nervous breakdown' and Kleiman who was struggling with serious stomach pains.

In an interview after the war, Miep Gies said: ‘We, the helpers, knew that we all struggled from time to time, but we didn't talk about it. Everything just had to go ahead as planned. (...) To the outside world, we had to appear as relaxed as possible, otherwise people might have become suspicious.’ (Anne Frank Magazine 1998, Anne Frank Stichting.)

The front office: a place for Anne to dream away

Anne was curious and couldn't resist peeping through the office curtains from time to time. She longed too much for the outside world not to.