The third week starts with an informative article on a woman who played an important role during World War II: Miep Gies.
Miep was a resistance fighter who put all her efforts towards helping innocent people to hide and flee from the Nazis. She was also part of the group who hid the family of Anne Frank.
Read more about this brave woman in the following article:
Miep Gies | *15-02-1909 | † 11-01-2010 | Austria | Resistance Fighter in WW2
During the Holocaust roughly six million Jews were systematically murdered. About 16.000 Jews survived the war by going into hiding. But both the person in hiding and the person who hid them were at risk. Miep Gies was one of many who helped Jews hide. Miep Gies was born on 15th of February 1909 as Hermine Santruschitz (later spelled in The Netherlands as Santrouschitz) in Vienna, Austria. Because of the food shortage, caused by the First World War, she was malnourished and often sick. Her parents weren’t able to care for her, and in 1920 an opportunity arrived to go to The Netherlands. Together with other malnourished children 11-year-old Miep was to go to Leiden for three months to regain strength. Her foster parents decided, with doctor’s advice, to adopt her.
In 1933 Miep started working for a Jewish businessman who had moved with his family from Germany to The Netherlands in hopes of sparing his family from the Nazis; Otto Frank. On 10th of May 1940 The Netherlands was attacked by Germany. Mieps husband Jan Gies, whom she married on 16th of July 1941, became a member of a resistance group who worked with an organization to help people in hiding. Miep herself got involved in hiding the families Frank and Van Pels in the Secret Annex. The helpers divided tasks among them. Miep was in charge of supplying the families with meat and vegetables. She also brought them books from the library. In addition to the daily care for the eight people in the Secret Annex, the company must also be kept running. And, at the same time Miep and Jan hid a student in their own home.
After they were betrayed on 4th of August 1944 the Jewish families were deported and some of the people who helped them were also arrested. Being caught helping Jews meant deportation to a concentration camp and an almost certain death. The Nazi in charge that day was from Vienna, just like Miep. Because she told him about her origins, she and her colleague Bep Voskuijl were not deported. After being released, the two women went to the Secret Annex. Together with the warehouse manager they collected all of Anne Frank’s diary’s and loose papers in the hopes of one day returning them to her.
After the raid on the Secret Annex a plan was orchestrated to bribe the Nazis into releasing the families and helpers that were deported. They raised money and Miep went to the headquarters of the SD. The plan failed, but Miep safely made it out of the building.
In the spring of 1945 the war was over and the wait began for who would return from the camps. Only Otto Frank returned. They cared for him for the next seven years. After it became known that Anne had passed, Miep gave the diaries to Otto. In the years following Miep tells the stories about the Secret Annex and her memories of Anne to students.
Every year on 4th of August, Miep and Jan commemorated the loss of their friends. Miep Gies received multiple domestic and foreign awards for her work during the second World War. In 2010 they even named an asteroid after her. Miep passed away on 11th of January 2010 after living for a century.
Author: Hilke Cranenbroek
Image: Rob Bogaerts