Tuesday, January 12, 2010

the Death of Miep Gies

Yesterday, on January 11, one of twentieth century's quiet heroes passed away at the age of 100. Miep Gies, whom most presumably know, helped out (by way of daily grocery deliveries, etc.) the Frank family while they were in hiding in Amsterdam during WWII.

Having visited the Anne Frank House just after September 11, 2001, and having read her diary several times, I can get a feel for the sense of duty Miep must have felt in wanting to help the Frank family. Of course this assistance by Miep didn't come without its risks, and I doubt many of us (myself included) could have been so brave.

I admire Miep for her modesty. True, she didn't do as much as some people. Probably the best known is Oscar Schindler who is credited for saving about 1200 jews during WWII. However, Miep, without knowing it, gave the public an even greater gift - the diary of Anne Frank.

As the media has reported, Miep recovered it from the Frank's rooms above the storehouse and kept it in her desk until after Anne died and the war was over, before returning it to Otto Frank. Little did she know that book would still be published more than 60 years later in over 70 languages. It's thanks to Miep's discernment, and Otto Frank's agreement to publish her diary that we have this legacy.

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