February 15, 1909
|Died||January 11, 2010 (aged 100)
|Spouse(s)||Jan Gies (1905–1993)
(1941–1993; his death)
|Children||Paul Gies (born 1950)|
Miep Gies (February 15, 1909 – January 11, 2010) was one of the Dutch citizens who hid Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis during World War II. She discovered and preserved Anne Frank's diary after the Franks were arrested.
Born Hermine Santrouschitz in Vienna, Miep Gies was transported to Leiden from Vienna in December 1920 to escape the food shortages prevailing in Austria after World War I. In 1922, she moved with her foster family to Amsterdam. In 1933, she met Otto Frank when she applied for the post of temporary secretary in his spice company, Opekta. She initially ran the Complaints and Information desk in Opekta, and was eventually promoted to a more general administrative role. She became a close friend of the Frank family, as did Jan Gies, whom she married on July 16, 1941 after she refused to join a Nazi women's association and was threatened with deportation back to Austria. Her knowledge of Dutch and German helped the Frank family assimilate into Dutch society, and she and her husband became regular guests at the Franks' home.
With her husband, and her colleagues, Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, and Bep Voskuijl, Miep Gies helped hide Edith and Otto Frank, their daughters Margot and Anne, Hermann and Auguste van Pels, their son Peter, and Fritz Pfeffer in a secret upstairs room that was not used in the spice company's office building on Amsterdam's Prinsengracht from July 1942 to August 4, 1944.
In theory, Miep and the other helpers could have been shot if they had been caught hiding Jews. On the morning of August 4, 1944, acting on information provided by an informant, the Grüne Polizei arrested the people hidden at Frank's place of business, as well as Victor Kugler and Johannes Kleiman. A few days later, Miep unsuccessfully tried to bribe the Austrian Nazi officer to release her friends. Three separate criminal investigations after the war all failed to identify the informant.
Before the hiding place was emptied by the authorities, Miep retrieved Anne Frank's diaries and saved them in her desk drawer for Anne's return. Once the war was over and it was confirmed that Anne had perished in Bergen-Belsen, Gies gave the collection of papers and notebooks to the sole survivor from the Secret Annex, Anne's father, Otto. After transcribing sections for his family, his daughter's literary ability became apparent and he arranged for the book's publication in 1947. Miep did not read the diaries before turning them over to him, and later remarked that if she had she would have had to destroy them because Anne had named all five of the helpers (the Gestapo had identified and arrested two) as well as their black market suppliers. She was, however, eventually persuaded by Otto Frank to read it in its second printing.
In 1994, Miep Gies was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany; in 1995, she received the Yad Vashem medal, and in 1997, she was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Miep's and Jan's only child, Paul, was born on July 13, 1950. Jan Gies died in 1993 from diabetes.
In December 1994, during the making of the documentary film Anne Frank Remembered, Miep was introduced to Peter Pfeffer, the son of Fritz Pfeffer. After his parents divorced, Pfeffer was raised by his father, until his father felt it was too dangerous for him to remain in Germany, and in 1938 was sent to London to live with his uncle. By the end of the war he had lost most of his close family, including his father and mother, who had died in Theresienstadt.
Pfeffer moved to the United States and California, where he founded a successful office supply business. Pfeffer, upon meeting Miep Gies, expressed his thanks to her for attempting to save his father's life and Miep asked him if there was anything he wanted to know about his father, expressing that he was a good man and fine dentist. Pfeffer died of cancer two months later. Miep Gies stated in her autobiography, and on her own website:
I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did or more – much more - during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the hearts of those of us who bear witness. Never a day goes by that I do not think of what happened then.
Miep Gies lived in the Dutch province of Noord-Holland. According to Carol Ann Lee's biography of Otto Frank, The Hidden Life of Otto Frank, Gies stopped granting interviews after enduring a bout of severe ill health. On February 15, 2009, she celebrated her 100th birthday (At that time, according to her son, Gies was in good health and followed the news on a daily basis)  . Gies died on January 11, 2010, following a short illness. It was reported that this was caused by a fall.  .
February 15, 1909
January 11, 2010|
|Spouse||Jan Gies (1941 – 1993)|
Miep Gies, née Hermine Santrouschitz (born February 15, 1909; died January 11, 2010), is one of the Dutch citizens who hid Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis during World War II. She found and kept Anne's diary after Anne Frank was found and sent away by the Nazis. Although Gies did not read the diary (as she gave it to Otto Frank straight away after recovering it from the annex and thought it would be rude to read), it has became very successful worldwide.
'I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did or more – much more - during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the hearts of those of us who bear witness. Never a day goes by that I do not think of what happened then.', Miep Gies stated on her own website.
|Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found|