Monday, 15 February 2010
On this day...
Miep Gies was born in 1909. A name that you may not have heard of, yet one whose actions have echoed throughout the decades. Although an Austrian citizen by birth, at the age of 11, Gies moved to Holland, escaping the food shortagesthat existed as the remenents of World War One. By 1933, she had begun to work at 'Opetka', a spice company run by German Otto Frank. Gies' extensive knowledge of both Dutch and German became a useful tool in helping the Franks assimilate into society and she was soon close friends with the family.
The friendship that was forged was tested, yet prove to be ever-enduring, as Gies and her husband helped to hide the Franks from the Nazi patrols for over two years. When the Franks were eventually found and arrested in the Summer of 1944, Gies retrived Anne's diary before the authorities could empty the hiding place, and preserved it, giving it to Otto after the war. Gies' extraordinary humanitarian efforts have since been rewarded, receiving German, Dutch and Israeli honours and even having a minor planet named after her. She died earlier this year, at the age of 100.