Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Miep Gies ~ A real Heroine

Prompted by a post this morning on one of the forums I frequent, I began to think about what women were my heroes.
My initial thought were of those who had done brave and cutting edge things for women, the suffragettes who fought for our votes. Those who had pioneered work in contraception and womens health.
Sitting in the car on the way to the shops, I began to think of who else would be in my top 5. At that point Miep Gies came to mind.
Miep was the last surviver of the goup of people who protected Anne Frank and her family and hid them from the Nazi's.
Miep was originally from Vienna, but moved to Holland when she was 11.
She worked as a secretary for Anne's father Otto.
When the war broke out and the Nazi's invaded Holland, they arrested all the Jews and rounded them up, put them on trains and sent them to concentration camps.
Miep, along with five other people risked their lives taking food and supplies to Anne, her sister and parents, another family and a single man who were squashed into an attic of the wharehouse where they worked. Miep and the others daily put themselves at risk, sharing their rations and visiting them. Miep provided the journals and notebooks that became the "Diary of Anne Frank"
Sadly Anne and her fellow hiders were betrayed and they were discovered and sent to camps by the Nazis.
Anne died of Typhoid in Belgen Belsen camp.
Annes Father Otto, was the sole survivor and after the war he returned to Amsterdam. It was then that Miep Gies handed him the diary written by Anne, that she had found in the attic after the Nazi's had taken Anne away.
Miep is in my eyes a true Heroine, a person who putting thoughts for her own safety and well being aside had cared with compassion for someone else.
What makes my thoughts so humbleing is that after I had been into the shops, I put on the radio for the return journey to hear the news that Miep Gies passed away on monday following a short illness. She was 100 years old at the time of her death and her lasting statement "I only did what seemed necessary at the time" should be a mantre for us all.

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