Friday, February 13, 2009

Miep Gies, helper of Anne Frank, celebrates her 100th birthday

This story was sent to us from our friends at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

Miep Gies, the last surviving and best known helper of Anne Frank and the people in hiding with her in an Amsterdam canal side house, will be 100 years old on 15 February 2009. She will be celebrating the day quietly with family and friends. Miep is in reasonably good health, and remains deeply involved with the remembrance of Anne Frank and spreading the message of her story. She still receives letters from all over the world with questions about her relationship with Anne Frank and her role as a helper. “I’m not a hero’, she has said, “It wasn’t something I planned in advance, I simply did what I could to help.”
Hermine (Miep) Gies-Santrouschitz was born in Vienna on February 15, 1909 and came to the Netherlands when she was 11 years old. Starting in 1933, she worked as Otto Frank’s secretary for Opekta, his trading company in gelling agents for making jam. When Otto approached her in the spring of 1942 to help him and his family go into hiding, Miep did not hesitate. For two years, together with the other helpers, she made sure that the people in hiding (Otto Frank, his wife Edith and daughters Margot and Anne, Hermann and Auguste Van Pels and son Peter, and Fritz Pfeffer) were supplied with food and other essentials. Her husband, Jan Gies arranged for the ration coupons and like Miep visited the secret annex regularly. By helping, they were putting their own lives at risk.

Immediately after the arrest of the people in hiding, on August 4, 1944, Miep took Anne’s diary and other writings into safekeeping. When Otto returned from Auschwitz after the war, the only one of the eight people in hiding to do so, Miep gave Anne’s diary to him. Today, The Diary of Anne Frank has been translated into 70 different languages and is one of the most read books in the world.

As the diary became better known, Miep’s brave role in the story received world wide attention. She received many honors, among them the Yad Vashem medal and the Bundesverdienst Kreuz, a Knighthood from the German government. In 1995 she was Knighted in the Netherlands (Ridder in de Orde van Oranje Nassau).
The Anne Frank House maintains close contact with Miep Gies to this day.


Pauline said...

Lovely story: her is more

Jamie said...

Thanks for this, Pauline!

Obama Girl said...

That is amazing!!!!!!!!!!