Life: February 15, 1909 – January 11, 2010
Why you should know her: Miep Gies was a Dutch woman who helped hide Anne Frank and her family.
Born in Vienna, Austria, Hermine “Miep” Santruschitz was taken in by a Dutch family after the First World War and the starvation brought in its wake. The family nicknamed her Miep. Miep went to work for a Jewish man, Otto Frank, and she and her husband, Jan Gies, became friends and frequent guests of the Frank family.
The Franks – including their daughter Anne – and other Jews went into hiding in a secret annex above the business in July 1942. Miep was in charge of collecting the list of what they needed each morning, securing the items, and secretly delivering them over her lunch break. Miep’s husband Jan was a member of the Dutch resistance against the Nazis, and would visit the annex with news and with books for those in hiding to read.
When the Frank family and the other hidden Jews were betrayed and arrested, Miep tried to bribe the Nazi authorities into letting them go. She was unable to do so, and returned to the annex broken-hearted. She gathered up Anne’s journals and kept them hidden in her own desk drawer.
After the war, Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam to learn that his wife and two daughters had died during the Holocaust. Miep had kept Anne’s diary, though, and presented to Mr. Frank, saying, “This is the legacy of your daughter.”
For their efforts, Miep and Jan Gies were named Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1972.Tags: Advocates and Allies