Miep Gies, the office secretary who defied Nazi occupiers to hide Anne Frank and her family for two years, and who saved the teenager’s diary, died Tuesday. After the Anne Frank's diary was published, Gies tirelessly promoted tolerance.
Miep Gies, the office secretary who defied the Nazi occupiers to hide Anne Frank and her family for two years and saved the teenager’s diary, has died, the Anne Frank House museum said Tuesday. She was 100.
Gies was the last of the few non-Jews who supplied food, books and good cheer to the secret annex behind the canal warehouse where Anne, her parents, sister and four other Jews hid for 25 months during World War II.
After the apartment was raided by the German police, Gies gathered up Anne’s scattered notebooks and papers and locked them in a drawer for her return after the war. The diary, which Frank had been given on her 13th birthday, chronicles her life in hiding from June 12, 1942 until August 1, 1944.
Gies refused to read the papers, saying even a teenager’s privacy was sacred. Later, she said if she had read them she would have had to burn them because they incriminated the “helpers.”
Frank died at age 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945, just two weeks before the camp was liberated. Gies gave the diary to Frank’s father Otto, the only survivor, who published it in 1947.
“Every day for over two years she put herself in danger by hiding Jews from the Nazis,” said Anne Frank’s cousin, Bernd “Buddy” Elias, who last saw Gies on her 100th birthday. “If they had caught her, she would have been put in a concentration camp herself.”
Her death removed one of the last living direct links to Anne Frank, with only Elias and a few of her childhood friends still alive.
An online registry quickly recorded hundreds of condolences from around the world.
After the diary was published, Gies tirelessly promoted causes of tolerance. She brushed aside the accolades for helping hide the Frank family as more than she deserved — as if, she said, she had tried to save all the Jews of occupied Holland.
“This is very unfair. So many others have done the same or even far more dangerous work,” she wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press days before her 100th birthday in February 2009.