Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A life of quiet courage - Miep Gies

Miep Gies, the person who found and preserved Anne Frank's diary, died January 11th after complications from a fall from before Christmas - she would have been 101 in February. The following is an excerpt from a BBC news article (Anne Frank diary guardian Miep Gies dies aged 100):
Miep Gies, the last surviving member of the group who helped protect Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis, has died in the Netherlands aged 100.

She and other employees of Anne Frank's father Otto supplied food to the family as they hid in a secret annex above the business premises in Amsterdam.

Anne's diary of their life in hiding, which ended in betrayal, is one of the most famous records of the Holocaust.

It was rescued by Mrs Gies, who kept it safe until after the war.
Miep Gies would have turned 101 on February 15th, 2010.

Images from BBC web site:

Miep Gies, with a copy of the now famous Anne Frank's Diary - first published in 1947 and has sold over 30 million copies in 65 languages.

Mrs Gies, front row left, seated next to Otto Frank. I think this photo is likely from around the time Anne's diary was first published. There is no date on the caption on the BBC web site, and no names for the other people.

Update: I found this same photo on the annefrank.org website, with the description that these were the four helpers who brought food and supplies, etc, to the Frank and Van Pels families in the the Secret Annex, as it was known. The seven were later joined by Fritz Pfeffer. The Anne Frank web site photo had this caption that identified them:
From the left to the right: Miep Gies, Johannes Kleiman, Otto Frank, Victor Kugler and Bep Voskuijl.
What happened:
  • Otto Frank -one of only 7,650 prisoners alive when Auschwitz was liberated by Russian soldiers on January 27, 1945, he weighed only 115 lbs .
  • Edith Frank - dies at Auschwitz concentration camp Jan 6, 1945.
  • Margot Frank - dies of typhus at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in late winter 1945.
  • Anne Frank - dies of typhus at Bergen-Belsen, one day after her sister Margot.
  • Hermann Van Pels - gassed at Auschwitz after becoming too exhausted to work, September 1944.
  • Auguste Van Pels - dies somewhere in Germany or Czechoslovakia, probably between April 9 and May 8, 1945, after being shuttled around from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen to Raguhn (part of the concentration camp at Buchenwald) to Theresienstadt to -unknown-.
  • Peter Van Pels - marched from Auschwitz to Mathausen concentration camp in Austria where he was forced to work in a stone quarry where he died May 5, 1945, sick and exhausted.
  • Fritz Pfeffer - dies in sick bay at Neuengamme concentration camp, Dec 20, 1944.

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