Miep and Jan Gies
July 16, 1941, Miep Santrouschitz married her boyfriend, Jan Gies, a
social worker and member of the Dutch underground. Miep, Jan and three
others risked their lives daily and acted as helpers for the people in the
annex, and brought them food, supplies and news of the world outside the
Miep's friendship with Anne Frank was especially strong. When she wrote
the diary, Anne changed all the names of the people in it, to protect them
from Nazi retribution - except for Miep, whose first name remained the
Miep brought her blank accounting books so Anne could continue to scribble
her thoughts after she filled the checkered diary. Miep bought Anne her
first pair of heels, secondhand red pumps, which Anne teetered around on,
biting on her lip, until she mastered them. Miep even supplied some
lavender peonies to Peter, who presented them to Anne as a sign of his
One night, Anne persuaded Miep to sleep over in the attic. Miep spent a
suffocating, sleepless night on Anne's small, hard bed. She listened to
the church clock across the garden chime at 15-minute intervals, listened
to her own heart pound. She became aware of what it meant to be imprisoned
in those small rooms and felt a taste of the helpless fear these people
were forced to endure day and night.
It all ended on August 4, 1944, when their hiding place was betrayed. Miep
Gies hid the precious diary, keeping it for a year until official word
arrived that Anne was dead. On that dreadful day, she reached into her
desk drawer, removed the sheaves of paper, and handed them to a shattered
'Here,' she told him, 'is your daughter Anne's legacy to you.'
Otto Frank lived with Miep and Jan Gies for seven years. He died in 1980.
Miep Gies didn't just help the eight people in the annex. She and Jan Gies
hid a young Jewish student in their apartment. Miep never told Otto Frank
Today, more than fifty years later, Miep Gies has spoken all over the
United States and Europe on behalf of the Anne Frank Center, an
international organization dedicated to tolerance. She lives alone in
Amsterdam. Her husband, Jan, died in January 1993, 87 years old. He was
honored after the war for his work in the resistance, receiving the Yad
Vashem medal in Israel in 1977.
In 1987, Jan and Miep Gies were presented with an
award from the Jewish organization B'nai B'rith. In 1994 she received the
Raoul Wallenberg Award for Bravery and in May that same year, she received
The Righteous Amongst the Nations Award - along with Emilie
Not long ago Miep Gies told about her friends hiding in the Annex:
have no word to describe these people who were still always friendly and
grateful. Yes, I do have a word, Heroes. True heroes they were.
People sometimes call me a hero. I don't like it .. I myself, I'm just a
very common person. I simply had no choice. I could not save Anne's life.
However, I did save her diary and by that I could help her most important
dreams to come true. She tells us that she wants to live on after her
death. Now, her diary makes her really living on in a most powerful way.
And that helps me in those many hours of deep grief.
has happened that people walk up to me and ask me what I would answer to
those who deny that the Holocaust even took place. My response is that on
August 4, 1944, at 9'oclock in the morning I did meet a healthy and strong
15-year old girl, Anne Frank. The next thing I saw was her name in a
German list of people on a cattle train to Auschwitz.
So please, tell me where Anne Frank lives at this moment if the Holocaust
did not take place, because Anne Frank would still be with us today