While her birth name was Hermine Santruschitz, the woman who became known for hiding Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis was better known as Miep Gies. A Roman Catholic born in 1909, Miep was an Austrian born girl who was taken in and raised by a Dutch family for some time. It was in 1933 that she began working with Otto Frank, who had moved to the Netherlands to escape Nazi persecution.
Miep married Jan Gies in 1941 in order for her to obtain Dutch citizenship in order to avoid being deported back to Austria. This way she was able to stay in the Netherlands. When the Netherlands were occupied by the Germans, it was Miep, along with her husband and several other co-workers, who worked to hide the Frank family from the Nazis. Otto, Edith, Margot, and Anne Frank, along with Fritz Pfeffer and the van Pels family, were secreted away into an upstairs area in the office building of Otto's company, Opekta.
As the Franks hid, Miep watched as more and more Jews were drug from their homes and moved to concentration camps. Miep cleverly bought food for the hiding families by only buying small amounts, hiding food underneath her coat, and visiting different grocers during the day in order to avoid suspicions. She delivered food and goods to the Frank family regularly, after the Opekta company was closed for the day.
The Franks were found and captured by Germans on August 4, 1944. Miep tried to buy their freedom but was refused. After the hiding place was discovered, Miep managed to save Anne Frank's diaries, storing them in her desk drawer. She didn't read the diaries until the book had gone into its second printing.
Gies was eventually awarded several awards, including the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Yad Vashem medal. She was also knighted by the Netherlands and actually has a minor planet named after her – 99949 Miepgies.
Miep Gies died at the age of 100 on the eleventh of January, 2010. Because of her efforts, the Franks and those that hid along with them were able to enjoy a few more years of life together. And without her, the world would have never read Anne's diary, now considered one of the most profound and important pieces of literature ever produced and certainly one of the most important works concerning the horrors of the Holocaust.
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