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