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Miep Gies, the woman who sheltered the Frank family and saved Anne’s diary for posterity, was born Hermine Santruschitz in Vienna to Christian parents in 1909. In 1920 she moved to Leiden to escape food shortages and was raised by a Dutch family who moved to Amsterdam two years later. They nicknamed her Miep.
In 1933 she went to work as an office assistant for Otto Frank, who was director of a pectin producing company. Gies and her husband became family friends with the Franks and when Otto asked for help, they agreed to hide him and his family in a secret warehouse annex.
From July 1942 until August 1944 she brought them daily groceries and served as their link to the outside world. After 25 months in hiding, the Frank family was arrested but an Austrian SS officer spared Gies from captivity out of sympathy on the condition she promise not to flee.
“There is nothing special about me,” Gies wrote in a book first published in 1987. “I have never wanted special attention. I was only willing to do what was asked of me and what seemed necessary at the time.”
Gies found Anne’s diaries in the debris left by the raid and kept them in her desk drawer without ever reading them. After the war ended, when it became clear that Anne was not coming back, she handed them over to Anne’s father.
They were published in Dutch in 1945 and in English two years later. It has been translated in 30 languages. As of this writing it is an amazon.com best seller in three categories.
This apparently inconsequential diary by a child, this “de profundis” stammered out in a child’s voice, embodies all the hideousness of fascism, more so than all the evidence of Nuremberg put together.
– Dr.Jan Romein, Dutch historian, 1946
After the war, Queen Miep gave public speeches to keep Anne’s memory alive and she corresponded with people around the world. She also campaigned against holocaust denial and other causes. She received honors from several governments and institutions, and last year had an asteroid named after her by the International Astronomical Union. She died in 2010 at the age of 100.
Helping people who are in danger is not a matter of courage but from making a decision that every human being has to make in his life when he or she distinguishes between good and bad.
– Miep Geis
* Please send me your thoughts about power. Also stories of your own empowerment. When shared, these ideas and examples are extremely inspiring to others. Thanks.
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Queen Mama Donna offers upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.