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Miep Gies, 1909-2010, helped hide Anne Frank

“I am not a hero but did what seemed necessary at the time.”

These words alongside black-and-white photos of two young girls open the website of Miep Gies.

One of the photos is instantly recognizable as Anne Frank, the teenage diarist who died in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945.

The other girl is Miep Gies, who in the dark days of World War II helped hide the Frank family and other Jewish friends in the secret annex of their Amsterdam office building.

Miep Gies, 100, died on the evening of Monday, Jan. 11, after a short illness, her website announced.

Gies returned to the secret annex after the Franks were betrayed and arrested by the SS and Dutch collaborators on Aug. 4, 1944. She found Anne Frank’s diary among papers and photos scattered by the police and hid it until after the end of the war.

In July 1945, she returned the diary to Otto Frank, Anne’s father and the only member of the family to survive the concentration camps. The dairy was published in 1947, becoming an international best seller that personalized the Nazi persecution of Jews for millions of readers.

Miep Gies was born in Vienna in 1909 with the name of Herminie Santrushitz. She was transported to the Netherlands in 1920 as part of a relief program to help Austrian children suffering from poverty and food shortages in the aftermath of World War I.

In 1932 she began working at Otto Frank’s spice company in Amsterdam. With her future husband, Jan Gies, Miep formed a friendship with her boss’s family. As the Nazi’s tightened their oppression of Amsterdam’s Jews in 1942, the couple agreed with other employees at the company to help the Franks hide.

Although honored by the Dutch, Israeli, Austrian and German authorities after the war — she had an asteroid named for her after turning 100 in February 2009 — Gies always resisted the hero tag.

“I am a very common and cautious woman and definitely not a genius or dare-devil. I did help like so many others who ran the same more risk than me. It was necessary, so I helped.”

 

http://www.globalpost.com/notebook/netherlands/100112/miep-gies-helped-hide-anne-frank