Miep Gies and Anne Frank
Culture Inspirational Stories

Shadows of Bravery: Miep Gies and the Hidden Diary of Anne Frank

Miep Gies, a remarkable and courageous woman, played an extraordinary role during one of history’s darkest times. She is one of the unsung heroes who defied darkness and saved Anne’s voice. When danger lurked, she stood strong, preserving the diary that would inspire generations to come.

Born on February 15, 1909, in Vienna, Austria, Miep Gies is best known for her heroic actions during the Holocaust. She, along with her husband Jan Gies, provided a safe haven for Anne Frank and her family, who were hiding from Nazi persecution in Amsterdam.

People should never think that you have to be a very special person to help those who need you.

Miep Gies

Miep Gies worked as a secretary for Otto Frank, Anne’s father, in his business premises. When the Franks went into hiding in the secret annex behind the office building, Miep became one of their lifelines. Despite the constant threat of discovery, Miep risked her own safety to bring food, supplies, and news from the outside world to the hidden occupants. With unwavering courage and boundless compassion, Miep shielded the Franks from harm’s way, a symbol of resistance in a world gone astray.

Actress Bel Powley as Miep Gies and Liev Schreiber as Otto Frank in the series A Small Light, 2023 / Courtesy of National Geographic

Beyond the shadows of war, she championed justice, advocating for rights and fostering empathy’s allure. Miep devoted her efforts to sharing her experiences and educating people about the atrocities of the Holocaust. She gave numerous interviews, participated in speaking engagements, and visited schools to share her story and the lessons learned from that dark period in history.

Miep Gies, Jan Gies, and Alison Leslie Gold in Amsterdam / Copyright: Alison Leslie Gold

Even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can, within their own small ways, turn on a small light in a dark room.

Miep Gies

Anne Frank’s Diary

Recognizing the significance of Anne Frank’s diary, Miep Gies played a pivotal role in ensuring its publication and worldwide dissemination. She handed over Anne’s diary to Otto Frank, the sole survivor from the annex, upon his return from Auschwitz. Realizing the profound impact the diary could have, she encouraged Otto to publish it, leading to the timeless and influential work known as The Diary of a Young Girl.

Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.

Anne Frank

Miep’s commitment to preserving Anne’s legacy extended beyond the publication of the diary. She continued to support the Anne Frank House, a museum established in Amsterdam to commemorate Anne and the other inhabitants of the secret annex. Miep actively participated in the activities of the museum, sharing her firsthand accounts and personal insights with visitors.

Otto Frank, Jan Gies and Miep Gies with baby Paul, born in 1950 / Public domain

The Legacy

Throughout her life, Miep Gies received numerous honors and awards for her bravery and humanitarian contributions. She was recognized for her unwavering dedication to preserving Anne’s memory and promoting a more compassionate and tolerant world.

Any attempt at action is better than inaction. An attempt can go wrong, but inaction inevitably results in failure.

Miep Gies

Miep’s legacy echoes loud and clear, reminding us all that even one can change the atmosphere. The world starts with one story and the power often lies in the hands of one single person.

In the face of adversity, her spirit blazed bright, a testament to the power of one shining light. Miep Gies, a beacon of hope, teaching us the value of compassion and helping us cope.

You are the heroes. You are the heroes everyday.

Miep Gies
Miep Gies and Bel Powley

You can learn more about the amazing story of Miep Gies in the brand new series A Small Light, where Bel Powley beautifully portrays the young Miep Gies. Drawing from Gies’ memoir and extensive original research conducted by the show-runners, the story is woven with authenticity and rich historical detail.

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