Posted by: Elena's Israel Blog | 02/15/2013


Who Was Miep Gies?

miepgiesWhile millions of people all over the world know about Anne Frank, far fewer are aware of Miep Gies, the woman who sustained Frank and her family in hiding during World War II. The humanitarian actions of Gies more than fifty years ago in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam have had a special and enduring impact. Were it not for Miep Gies, the world may never have met Anne Frank.

Moral courage and modesty are at the heart of Miep’s character. For more than two years, she risked her own life daily to protect and care for the Franks and four of their friends hiding from the Nazis in an attic. Miep insisted that she was not a hero. “I myself am just an ordinary woman. I simply had no choice,” she told a standing-room-only audience during the fifth Wallenberg Lecture on October 11, 1994. Gies knew of many other Dutch people who sheltered or helped Jews during the war. Her name has become known, she said, only “because I had an Anne.” Gies assigned the title of hero to the eight who hid in the attic. “They were the brave people,” she said.


Anne Frank

Miep provided the Franks with food, clothing, and books during their years in hiding. To the best of her ability she addressed all of their daily material needs. She was also one of the few links with the outside world for the Franks and their friends, and she was their main source of hope and cheer. She faced great personal risk, acting out of integrity and in harmony with her own internal values. Miep tried to rescue the Frank family after they were taken from the attic, attempting to bribe the Austrian SS officer who had arrested them. Miep even went to Nazi headquarters to negotiate a deal, fully aware that this bold move could cost her life.

After the Franks were betrayed and arrested, Miep’s task continued. She climbed the attic stairs one more time to retrieve Anne’s writings. Finding them scattered on the floor, Miep quickly gathered up the notebooks and kept them for Anne’s expected return after the war. When she learned of Anne’s death in Bergen-Belsen, Miep gave Otto Frank his daughter’s notebooks. For the rest of her life Miep mourned the cruel fate of her friends in the attic. “Every year on the fourth of August, I close the curtains of my home and do not answer the doorbell or the telephone,” she said. “It is the day that my Jewish friends were taken away to the death camps. I have never overcome that shock.”

Miep Gies died at age 100 in the Netherlands on January 11, 2010. Miep felt it was her human duty and privilege to care for those who needed protection from the hands of the ones who were so determined to destroy every Jew. Like her, we need to feel the urgency to “pray for the peace (and protection) of Jerusalem” (Psalm122:6) as those who desire her complete absence from the earth try so desperately to destroy her. As we pray let’s also be thankful for those like Miep Gies whose fear of losing their own lives did not prevent them from giving food and shelter to those in need.

from the Jerusalem Prayer Team blog

If you have never read Anne’s story, you could order or borrow her book: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, Otto H. Frank, Mirjam Pressler and Susan Massotty (Oct 19, 2010), or watch the movie made of the story.



  1. from Stephen Joseph:
    Thank you Elena for this spirit lifting story about this truly righteous lady filled with so much love for others that she knowingly and willingly placed her own life in peril while protecting helpless persecuted Jews from certain death!

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