Posted by: illinigirl | January 15, 2010

Definition of a hero

If you’ve ever read “The Diary of Anne Frank”, you are familiar with Miep Gies. . . Anne’s father’s secretary, who helped them in hiding, bought them groceries, protected the, and were a pair of their eyes and ears to the outside world.

Ms. Gies is responsible for helping this family. . . preserving Anne’s diary. . . and giving the Holocaust a voice.  She passed away this week at the age of 100. . .  Please read her obituary below. . . and PLEASE take a look at the guest book (and sign if you are so inspired).  It’s truly beautiful to see how many lives she touched all over the world.

I read the “The Diary of Anne Frank” for the the first time in grade school and reread it several times afterwards because I fell in love with Anne and think the story is so amazing, compelling, and heartbreaking.

I think this book started me in my Holocaust obsession.  Yeah, kinda creepy right?. . .  but I am so intrigued by this point in history.  It just seems absolutely unfathomable. . . (as it SHOULD).  Mom and I went to Dachau when we were in Germany when I was in high school.  WOW.  Walk through the gates and your hairs stand up.  It’s just that powerful.

I never wrote about it (but intended to). . . but queenlizzle and I went to the Holocaust Museum in D.C. this summer.  What a powerful place.  NOT for the weak of heart!  Some of the exhibits are downright unimaginable.

The exhibit that had the survivor stories and the people who assisted them had by far the biggest impact on me.  I will never forget the videos they played in that area.  The most memorable video was an older gentile woman hiding a girl and her mother (without even the host’s grown children knowing).  She bought a separate pot and spoon for the girl and her mother so she could make them kosher meals.  The survivor featured in the video (who was just a girl at the time) telling the story on the video got teary as she explained that her mother had kosher meals every day. . . even in hiding.  The mother tried to give their host money, and the host told her that she could not possibly accept money.  The host asked her if she realized she was the poorest of the poor, having to live in hiding.

The survivor then explained that when it was finally safe for them to leave, the host told them that they needed to leave and never come back or say goodbye because they would put her life in jeopardy. . . so the now grown woman never got to say “thank you” to the host who saved she and her mother.  Seriously heart-wrenching.  Unfortunately, this video is not online anywhere that I can find. . . but here is a really neat page with some of these types of stories and videos if you are interested. . .

Rest in peace, sweet Miep Gies!  If only the world had a few million more of you. . .

Can’t you picture her meeting up with Anne and giving her a big hug?  It’s a beautiful thought.



  1. i know – i took a ton of hitler/holocaust/germany history in college and am still fascinated/horrified by it. i’ve been to the holocaust museum in d.c. and anne frank’s house in amsterdam. the most powerful thing for me at anne frank’s house was the ordinary, every day things that the kids/teenagers had like the lines showing their heights at different times and the pictures of the famous actors that they liked that were posted on the walls.

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