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January 13, 2010

R.I.P. Miep Gies, Anne Frank's protector

miep gies

Tributes were pouring in today for Miep Gies, who helped hide Anne Frank's family in an Amsterdam attic. Gies, who died Monday, also preserved the famous journal that became "The Diary of a Young Girl." She worked in the office of Anne's father, Otto, and in early 1942, when the Franks went into hiding, she and her husband provided food and other supplies. After the family was betrayed and arrested, she found Anne's diary and kept it until the war ended.

I had a chance to visit the Anne Frank House a couple of years ago, and it was truly sobering. The book, of course, is a chilling reminder of the innocence that is often crushed by oppression. Excerpts of some tributes:

New York Times -- It was Mrs. Geis’s habit to deflect accolades for defying Nazi occupiers of Amsterdam ... . But to accept that self-description would be to overlook the remarkable selflessness and courage Mrs. Gies demonstrated, an example so powerful that it continues to inspire nearly 70 years later.

The Washington Post -- Her passing represented the loss of the only connection that Anne had to the present world, and that her fans, in turn, had to her. As years passed, and the Holocaust became something that happened a generation ago, then two, then three, Gies alone was our tie.

New York Daily News -- In the end she could not save Anne and her family from betrayal to the Nazis, even by risking all to protect them. But it was Gies who preserved the young girl's diary that will echo through the ages as an expression of faith in the face of incomprehensible evil.

And here's a 1988 interview with Gies.

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 2:00 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Books to Movies
        

Comments

Dave, thought you might like to know I came to this story from the Huffington Post. does that deserve a congrats?

Arianna and I go way back.
Not really, but Read Street welcomes friends from all over the web.

Back in the early 60s, when I read Diary..., everyone knew what had happened to Anne Frank. By the late 80s summer when I conned my daughter into reading it, I'd forgotten that it was not clearly spelled out until the day that Daughter called me at work to ask, "So, what's the big deal? She just stopped writing...

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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