Miep Gies obituary | World news | The Guardian
The last living helper of Anne Frank and her family has died in the Austrian- born Miep Gies, known for her role in helping to hide the Jewish. Miep Gies, the last survivor among Anne Frank's protectors and the woman died Monday night, the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam said. She helped hide Anne Frank from the Nazis, and saved the girl's diary for posterity. Miep Gies, who has died aged , wrote towards the end of her life: "I did so by cultivating relationships with black-market shopkeepers.
The Frank family provided their wedding breakfast and Anne, then 12, gave them a silver plate. In JuneAnne's elder sister, Margot, was sent papers ordering her to report for forced labour in Germany. The Franks, with others, went into hiding in the annexe with a concealed entrance accessible from Otto's office. Jan, active in the Dutch resistance, got them forged ration cards. Miep, with 10 mouths to feed in a time of increasing scarcity, did so by cultivating relationships with black-market shopkeepers.
Her memoir, Anne Frank Rememberedgives a unique glimpse of Anne's intentness as a writer. Interrupting her at work without meaning to, Miep saw "a look on her face I'd never seen before — of dark concentration, as if she had a throbbing headache.
The look pierced me and I was speechless. She was suddenly another person, writing at the table. It was as if I had interrupted an intimate moment in a very, very private friendship. Miep heard the sound of the fugitives' feet as they were led down the annexe staircase like "beaten dogs".
According to her book, the investigating German officer was about to arrest Miep as an accomplice when she noticed his Viennese accent. She mentioned the link, and after some thought he said, "From personal sympathy But God help you if you run away. She never lived with her parents again.
Miep Gies obituary
She was a good student, a reliable secretary, had a lively social life and was one of the first girls in Amsterdam to learn the Charleston. In she took a job as an office assistant for Otto Frank, who had brought his Jewish family to Holland from Germany to escape the Nazis and reestablished his business in Amsterdam.
Miep soon became good friends with the Frank family - Otto, his wife Edith, and their daughters, Margot and Anne.
The family's feelings of security collapsed, however, when inAdolf Hitler and his troops conquered Holland and the freedom of the Jews began to be severely restricted. Dictates on where Jews could shop, swim or go to school became a part of everyday life.
As the brutality of the Nazis soon accelerated with murder, violence and terror, the seeds of their plan for the total extermination of the Jews dawned on Otto Frank in all its horror.
He spent preparing and stocking an annex behind his business office at Prinsengracht into a hiding place. The entrance to these rooms on the third and fourth floors was concealed by a moving bookcase which could be closed. The closed bookcase, a model of the 3rd floor and the bookcase opened He came to his loyal employee and friend Miep Gies with a question that would, in a split second, change her life forever.
Anne Frank's helper Miep Gies dies
Of course, she said without asking for details. She agreed to help the Franks go into hiding in the secret annex despite threat of imprisonment, deportation or execution. On her 13th birthday in Anne received as a gift from her parents, a diary. She immediately took to writing her intimate thoughts and musings.
A few short weeks later, however, Margot received a notice from the Nazi SS to report for work detail at a labor camp. Eight people eventually came to live in the secret annex. Miep, Jan and three others risked their lives daily and acted as helpers for the people in the annex, and brought them food, supplies and news of the world outside the darkened windows.
Miep's friendship with Anne Frank was especially strong. When she wrote the diary, Anne changed all the names of the people in it, to protect them from Nazi retribution - except for Miep, whose first name remained the same. Miep brought her blank accounting books so Anne could continue to scribble her thoughts after she filled the checkered diary. Miep bought Anne her first pair of heels, secondhand red pumps, which Anne teetered around on, biting on her lip, until she mastered them.
Miep even supplied some lavender peonies to Peter, who presented them to Anne as a sign of his affection. One night, Anne persuaded Miep to sleep over in the attic. Miep spent a suffocating, sleepless night on Anne's small, hard bed. She listened to the church clock across the garden chime at minute intervals, listened to her own heart pound. She became aware of what it meant to be imprisoned in those small rooms and felt a taste of the helpless fear these people were forced to endure day and night.
Prinsengracht It all ended on August 4,when their hiding place was betrayed, probably by a Dutch woman Lena Hartog-van Bladeren. She was one of the cleaning women working in the office in front of the annex The eight who lived in the annex were arrested by the Nazis and taken to Gestapo headquarters in Amsterdam, where the courageous Miep rushed to plead for their release - in vain.
Two of the five who hid the group were sent to concentration camps. She herself was spared only because she was Austrian by birth, like the arresting officer. As the Nazis searched the annex for valuables such as money, the briefcase in which Anne kept her writings was opened and the papers were scattered on the floor. Little did these men realize the eventual value of these materials. Miep, who had supplied all of the notebooks for her young friend' s diary, was determined to retrieve them, despite the enormous threat from the Nazis.
Using a spare set of keys, she visited the ransacked attic after the arrests, in defiance of Nazi orders. There, among the scattered papers on the floor, she found Anne's red-checked diary. After refusing to join a Nazi organization inshe avoided deportation to Austria by marrying her Dutch boyfriend, Jan Gies. As the Nazis ramped up their arrests and deportations of Dutch Jews, Otto Frank asked Gies in July to help hide his family in the annex above the company's canal-side warehouse on Prinsengracht and to bring them food and supplies.
I could help these people.
They were powerless, they didn't know where to turn," she said years later. Jan and Miep Gies worked with four other employees in the firm to sustain the Franks and four other Jews sharing the annex. Jan secured extra food ration cards from the underground resistance. Miep cycled around the city, alternating grocers to ward off suspicions from this highly dangerous activity.
In her email to the AP last February, Gies remembered her husband, who died inas one of Holland's unsung war heroes. During the war he refused to say anything about his work, only that he might not come back one night. People like him existed in thousands but were never heard," she wrote.
Miep Gies :: Friendship with the Frank family
Touched by Anne's precocious intelligence and loneliness, Miep also brought Anne books and newspapers while remembering everybody's birthdays and special days with gifts. In her own book, Anne Frank Remembered, Gies recalled being in the office when the German police, acting on a tip that historians have failed to trace, raided the hide-out in August A policeman opened the door to the main office and pointed a revolver at the three employees, telling them to sit quietly.
After the arrests, she went to the police station to offer a bribe for the Franks' release, but it was too late. A few months later, Anne and her sister Margot were transported to Bergen-Belsen.