Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

What Happened To Miep Gies

What Happened To Miep Gies

The Life and Legacy of Miep Gies: Guardian of Anne Frank’s Diary

Born Hermine Santrouschitz on February 15, 1909, in Vienna, Austria, Miep Gies is best remembered for her courageous role during World War II, particularly in hiding Anne Frank and her family from Nazi persecution. Her life story is not just a tale of survival but also a profound narrative of humanity and bravery under the most harrowing circumstances.

Early Life and Move to the Netherlands

After World War I, Austria faced severe food shortages, and the young Hermine, who later became known as Miep, suffered from malnutrition. In an effort to provide her with a better life, her parents sent her to the Netherlands in 1920 as part of a relief program for Austrian children. She was taken in by the Nieuwenburg family in Leiden and later moved with them to Amsterdam. Over time, Miep grew so attached to her foster family and her new home that she decided to stay in the Netherlands permanently.

As she reached adulthood, Miep found employment as a typist and later worked for Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, who was setting up his business, Opekta. It was through her job that she formed a close bond with the Frank family, a relationship that would dramatically alter the course of her life.

Into the Heart of Darkness: The Secret Annex

The year 1942 marked a turning point for Miep and her husband, Jan Gies. When the Frank family decided to go into hiding to escape the Nazi clutches, Otto Frank entrusted Miep and Jan with the safety of his family. Miep played a crucial role in sustaining the hidden group by providing food, books, and emotional support, often risking her own life to do so. Her daily efforts were instrumental in keeping the eight people in the Secret Annex—among them Anne Frank—alive for over two years.

Despite the constant danger and the strain of living a double life, Miep’s resolve never wavered. She was not just a provider; she was a lifeline, a beacon of hope in the darkest times. Anne Frank, in her diary, often mentioned Miep’s contributions and the risks she took to ensure their well-being.

The Arrest and Aftermath

The fateful day of August 4, 1944, brought an end to the life in hiding when the Secret Annex was raided by the Nazis. The Frank family and the others were arrested, but Miep and her fellow helper, Bep Voskuijl, were spared. After the raid, Miep found Anne’s scattered diary entries and papers. With a foresight of their historical and personal value, she gathered and preserved them, hoping to one day return them to Anne.

After the war, upon learning of Anne’s death, Miep handed the diary over to Otto Frank, the sole survivor among those who hid in the Annex. Otto decided to fulfill his daughter’s wish to become a published writer by sharing her diary with the world. The publication of Anne Frank’s diary shed light on the horrors of war and the enduring spirit of a young girl, and Miep Gies played a pivotal role in bringing this monumental document to light.

Legacy and Recognition

Miep Gies’s life after the war was intrinsically linked to the legacy of Anne Frank. She dedicated herself to sharing the lessons of the Holocaust and the need to fight against intolerance and persecution. Her own memoir, “Anne Frank Remembered,” co-written with Alison Leslie Gold, provides a detailed account of her experiences during the war and her role in protecting the Frank family.

For her bravery, Miep received several accolades, including the Order of Merit from Germany and the Righteous Among the Nations honor from Yad Vashem in Israel. Despite these honors, she remained humble, always emphasizing that she was not a hero but simply someone who did her human duty.

Miep Gies passed away on January 11, 2010, at the age of 100. Her life continues to inspire countless people around the globe, serving as a powerful example of courage, compassion, and unwavering moral integrity.

FAQs about Miep Gies

1. What did Miep Gies do during World War II?
Miep Gies helped hide Anne Frank and seven other Jewish people in the Secret Annex above Otto Frank’s business premises in Amsterdam. She provided them with food, supplies, and news from the outside world.

2. How did Miep Gies save Anne Frank’s diary?
After the Secret Annex was raided, Miep collected Anne’s diary entries and papers that were left scattered on the floor. She kept them safe until she could return them to Anne, which she later gave to Otto Frank after the war.

3. Did Miep Gies ever read Anne Frank’s diary?
Miep did not read the diary until after it was published. She once mentioned that had she read it during the war, she would have had to destroy it to protect the people mentioned in it.

4. What awards did Miep Gies receive for her actions?
Miep Gies was honored with several awards, including the Righteous Among the Nations, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, and she was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

5. How did Miep Gies die?
Miep Gies died in 2010 at the age of 100 after suffering from a fall. She lived a long life, much of it dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of Anne Frank and the lessons of the Holocaust.

Miep Gies’s story is a poignant reminder of the impact one individual can have on the lives of others and on history itself. Her moral courage and selflessness during one of history’s darkest periods continue to inspire and resonate with people around the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *