11 January 2010

Netherlands: Miep Gies dead at 100

Miep Gies is dead in the Netherlands at age 100, according to the BBC.

BBC cited Miep Gies' website as its source.

Gies was the last survivor of a group that helped protect Anne Frank, her family and the others hiding in a secret annex from the Nazis from 1942-1944, when the Jews were betrayed and deported. Anne died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen in 1945.

The employees of Otto Frank - Anne's father - provided food and other essentials to the people hiding at Prinsengracht 263, Amsterdam. Gies was a secretary of Otto, whose office was in the building.

The other protectors, in addition to Gies, were Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler, Bep Voskuijl, Jan Gies and Johan Voskuijl.

After the family was taken away, Gies gathered Anne's papers and kept them safe until after the war. She returned the papers to Otto Frank, who survived, and assisted him to compile the diary published in 1947. To date, it has sold tens of millions of copies in many languages.

Gies also wrote a book, "Anne Frank Remembered. The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family," published in a new edition in February 2009.

According to the BBC story:

Speaking last year as she celebrated her 100th birthday, Mrs Gies played down her role, saying others had done far more to protect Jews in the Netherlands.
Gies traveled extensively, talked about Anne's experiences, campaigned against Holocaust denial and refuted claims that the diary was forged. She was often honored for her efforts to protect the family and their memory.

In the BBC story, she describes finding the pages after the family was taken away.

Read the complete story here and also see Miep Gies' website for more information.

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