Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Last Protector Has Gone.

She was the last of a group of Dutch citizens who tried to protect 8 Jews from the Nazis during World War 2.  Although they failed in their task, she did manage to preserve their memory.
Miep Gies, who ensured the diary of Anne Frank did not fall into the hands of Nazis after the teen's arrest, has died. She was 100.

Gies was among a team of Dutch citizens who hid the Frank family of four and four others in a secret annex in Amsterdam, Netherlands, during World War II, according to her official Web site, which announced her death Monday. She worked as a secretary for Anne Frank's father, Otto, in the front side of the same Prinsengracht building.

The family stayed in the secret room from July 1942 until August 4, 1944, when they were arrested by Gestapo and Dutch police after being betrayed by an informant. Two of Gies' team were arrested that day, but she and her friend, Bep Voskuijl, were left behind -- and found 14-year-old Anne's papers.

"And there Bep and I saw Anne's diary papers lying on the floor. I said, 'Pick them up!' Bep stood there staring, frozen. I said, 'Pick them up! Pick them up!' We were afraid, but we did out best to collect all the papers," Gies said in a 1998 interview with The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

"Then we went downstairs. And there we stood, Bep and I. I asked, 'What now, Bep?' She answered, 'You're the oldest. You hold on to them. So I did."

The girl had chronicled two years of the emotions and fears that gripped her during hiding, as well as candid thoughts on her family, her feelings for friend-in-hiding Peter van Pels, and dreams of being a professional writer. Mixed into the entries were the names of the Dutch helpers, who risked their lives to keep the family's secret.

"I didn't read Anne's diary papers. ... It's a good thing I didn't because if I had read them I would have had to burn them," she said in the 1998 interview. "Some of the information in them was dangerous."

The diary was sheltered in Gies' desk drawer and later turned over to Otto Frank when he returned after the war as the only surviving resident of the annex. Anne died at northern Germany's Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

Her father published her diary, titled "The Secret Annex," in 1947.

Read the full story here.
True heroes never will admit they have done anything out of the ordinary, anything heroic.  That is why we consider them heroes.  Men and women we look up to, we admire, we want our children to emulate.  Especially those like Miep Gies who risked their own lives to save others.


Holger Awakens said...

What a great post, Findalis.

One has to wonder what we would have done in that same situation.

PatriotUSA said...

Just a beautiful post, Findalis.
I had two uncles who worked for
the Lithuaninan underground
during WW2 and they knew the Gies family.
These two men who thought
of themselves as 'nothing
special' spoke of this
courageous lady as one of
the few they
would ever consider a hero
in their lifetimes.

Thanks again. Just beautiful