Join 3,513 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Guardian of the Secret Annex passes away
January 11, 2010 5:31 PM   Subscribe

“I am not a hero...I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did and more — much more — during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the heart of those of us who bear witness.”
Miep Gies, protector of Anne Frank and her family, passes away at age 100.
posted by dnash (142 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh. What a brave and noble woman. RIP Miep, you have more than earned it.

.
posted by jokeefe at 5:33 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I feel like a "." would be too small, too insignificant. Every person who saves a life is a hero.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:34 PM on January 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:34 PM on January 11, 2010


Why do I only find out people are alive after they are dead.

O
posted by DU at 5:34 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:36 PM on January 11, 2010


..
posted by jquinby at 5:36 PM on January 11, 2010


.

I can't believe she was still alive, either.
posted by donajo at 5:36 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by honeybee413 at 5:36 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:37 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by limeonaire at 5:37 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Vibrissa at 5:38 PM on January 11, 2010


We can only hope to be such heroes when the time comes.
posted by atchafalaya at 5:38 PM on January 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


.
posted by contessa at 5:39 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by chihiro at 5:41 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by briank at 5:42 PM on January 11, 2010


An amazing woman -- she claimed not to be a hero, but I think we all know differently.

.
posted by OolooKitty at 5:43 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


She appeared at the Oscars in 1995 when she attended to recieve an award for Anne Frank Remembered. It was terribly emotional, seeing her standing on stage, this little old lady with such huge moral strength.
posted by jokeefe at 5:47 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Kinbote at 5:47 PM on January 11, 2010


She was born on February 15th. She almost made it to 101.
posted by jokeefe at 5:49 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by lilac girl at 5:50 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by tractorfeed at 5:50 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:54 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by beagle at 5:55 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Dumsnill at 5:58 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Quietgal at 5:59 PM on January 11, 2010


The real heroes of this world defend the defenseless when it's both very much the right thing to do and an incredibly difficult and perilous thing to do.

.
posted by rollbiz at 6:00 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by maxwelton at 6:02 PM on January 11, 2010


Courage like hers is extremely rare. Thank you, Mrs. Gies.

.
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:07 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by exlotuseater at 6:09 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:10 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by jgirl at 6:11 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by boubelium at 6:11 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by fairywench at 6:14 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by killy willy at 6:15 PM on January 11, 2010


I hope that if I were ever put in a similar situation that I would be able to do what she did for the Franks. May there always be people like Miep Gies.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:16 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


.
posted by leesh at 6:26 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by MarshallPoe at 6:26 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:28 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:28 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by washburn at 6:34 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Kimothy at 6:35 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Vavuzi at 6:36 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:37 PM on January 11, 2010


Thank you for posting this. It important to remember the names of true heroes, who almost always deny their heroism.
posted by minimii at 6:38 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by aerotive at 6:40 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Songdog at 6:43 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by castlebravo at 6:43 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by flaterik at 6:44 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by PsychoTherapist at 6:46 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by localroger at 6:47 PM on January 11, 2010


I know the length of one's life span has nothing to do with one's morality, but it feels so right that someone like Miep Gies enjoyed a long and happy life.
posted by orange swan at 6:48 PM on January 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


.
posted by teleri025 at 6:54 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by orthogonality at 6:54 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by drinkyclown at 6:59 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by ltracey at 7:07 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Melismata at 7:07 PM on January 11, 2010


Bless her heroic heart, and all the heroes like her that went unsung in that dark moment of recent history.
posted by dejah420 at 7:08 PM on January 11, 2010


Thank you Miep Gies.

.
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:11 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by rtha at 7:13 PM on January 11, 2010


I just read Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife by Francine Prose and although, like most girls, I idolized Anne as a child, I did not know as much about Miep Gies.

After the Frank family and other annex dwellers were taken away, Miep saw the papers strewn. She recognized it as Anne's writings (Anne was in the process of revising what she had written as a younger girl, finding it too childish) and put it together in the best order she could and kept it in her lower drawer in her office desk, hidden. At the time she was being questioned as a possible collaborator, but she felt she had to honor Anne by keeping it safe. She also honored Anne by not reading it herself, as she knew how Anne guarded her privacy. Giving the diaries to Otto, when he returned as the sole survivor was heartbreaking for both of them.
A great woman.

.
posted by readery at 7:13 PM on January 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:14 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by jock@law at 7:14 PM on January 11, 2010


.

I'm confident I won't be retracting this on.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:15 PM on January 11, 2010


s/on/one/
posted by b1tr0t at 7:15 PM on January 11, 2010


A fantastic woman, and a great heroine to me even before war that taught me what qualities truly make someone a hero. I hope the nearly 65 years she lived after the end of the Second World War brought her uncountable moments of happiness and joy.

.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 7:19 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by pearlybob at 7:23 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:23 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:25 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:25 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by keever at 7:28 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Feisty at 7:29 PM on January 11, 2010


"If you save but one life, it is as great as though you has saved the entire world"
posted by jefficator at 7:30 PM on January 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


.
posted by naoko at 7:31 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:31 PM on January 11, 2010


The part that always blew my mind, just a little bit more, about how brave this woman was, was what she did after the hiders were arrested:

"The craziest plan that we came up with after the raid on the Annex was that I, after collecting money from everyone in the company, would go to the headquarters of the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service)to bribe the Nazis into releasing the hiders and helpers. With wobbly knees, I made my way there."

Okay, let's just pretend I have the courage to hide some Jews while I'm living a Nazi-occupied country. Said Jews, get arrested, by some kind of miracle I don't get arrested. I would either run and hide, or sit at home, never move, and hope they forgot about me. What does Miep Gies do? Goes back to the SD headquarters and tried to bribe them to release the Franks. I would love to have 1/10th of that woman's courage and compassion for her fellow humans.

I'm not a big afterlife kind of guy, but if we get some kind of reward for a life well-lived, Gies is getting it.
posted by marxchivist at 7:34 PM on January 11, 2010 [28 favorites]


The world is emptying.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:38 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Shalom, Miep.
posted by BillBishop at 7:55 PM on January 11, 2010


She is counted among the Dutch Righteous among the Nations.
posted by newdaddy at 8:00 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by saucysault at 8:01 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:02 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by ob at 8:06 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by apartment dweller at 8:24 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by weathergal at 8:26 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:28 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:34 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by amro at 8:40 PM on January 11, 2010


"It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.

In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.

Yours, Anne"


I read Anne Frank- The Diary of a Young Girl last year. I really don't have the words to honour the heroism of Anne Frank, Miep Gies, the Frank family or any of people sheltering in the warehouse.

.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:41 PM on January 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Amazing. People like her give me hope for humanity.

.
posted by pecknpah at 8:41 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Brainy at 8:42 PM on January 11, 2010


Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.


.
posted by Soliloquy at 8:52 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Bummus at 8:52 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by aclevername at 8:54 PM on January 11, 2010


We lost a living witness to terrible times. There are plenty of records of what happened but still it's a great loss that the living oral history dies out.
Such a shameful period in the Netherlands' history.
Dag Miep. Slaap zacht.
posted by joost de vries at 9:04 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by bwg at 9:12 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by whitearrow at 9:18 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Richard Daly at 9:20 PM on January 11, 2010



posted by tzikeh at 9:50 PM on January 11, 2010


I'm crying tears of honor and praise and gratitude. Why do the postings such as this on MeFi affect me so? Let me tell you. It is because I think about how my friend and favorite and not-so-favorite users of this new-style community are affected by the death of this life as well as lives such as these, lives which in my opinion are the kind of which inspire us all to do greatness in our own lives.

And because sometimes they do.

You are a hero to me, Miep Gies, and you are a hero to my people, all of us, everywhere.

These tears are not for our loss, they are for what we have gained for your living.

God speed.

.
posted by humannaire at 9:50 PM on January 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


.
posted by anshuman at 9:50 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by brundlefly at 9:57 PM on January 11, 2010


One of the things that amazes me about Miep is that she hid a young Jewish man in her house at the same time she was helping protect the Franks and Van Pelses. Nerves of steel, but she didn't think it was anything more than her duty.

As I searched the Web for information about Miep this evening, I came across this footage (YouTube) of Miep filmed for Opekta, Otto Frank's company. Incredible.
posted by mynameisluka at 10:15 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:15 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by angrycat at 10:21 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:56 PM on January 11, 2010


.

I go through several stages when thinking about this. The first is thinking of her courage. The second is thinking that what we call courage is simply what we all should expect of each other. ("God damn it, you've got to be kind." -- Eliot Rosewater) The third is how any other human being could put someone in the position where simple kindness by itself is an act of courage.
posted by dhartung at 10:58 PM on January 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


.
posted by semmi at 11:24 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by DreamerFi at 11:40 PM on January 11, 2010


.
posted by brujita at 11:43 PM on January 11, 2010


What I remember of Anne Frank Remembered was the interview with the dentist's son (who escaped to England). He didn't think that Anne was quite fair to his father, as Dr . Pfeffer (Dussel is "idiot" in German) was an avid outdoorsman who must have been climbing the walls at having to be cooped up.
posted by brujita at 11:59 PM on January 11, 2010


She had a asteroid named after her, so her name will live on.
posted by DreamerFi at 12:00 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by lunasol at 12:02 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:14 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by chairish at 12:16 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by Spatch at 12:41 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by blogenstock at 1:25 AM on January 12, 2010


go through several stages when thinking about this. The first is thinking of her courage. The second is thinking that what we call courage is simply what we all should expect of each other. ("God damn it, you've got to be kind." -- Eliot Rosewater) The third is how any other human being could put someone in the position where simple kindness by itself is an act of courage.

Sometimes the greatest courage of all is simply to behave as one should, when every logical argument says that you shouldn't.
posted by garius at 1:51 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


A light has left the world. When I think of her, I think of sugar rations and cake. Such a simple thing to us all, now. Such a huge gift, there, and then, to bring a smile from a girl who needed a reason to smile.
posted by Goofyy at 2:04 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Zichronam lebracha.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:07 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 4:08 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by Acey at 4:54 AM on January 12, 2010


By my reckoning she's still owed another hundred years.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:12 AM on January 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


.

An example to us all.
posted by bettafish at 5:33 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by c lion at 5:37 AM on January 12, 2010


> I came across this footage (YouTube) of Miep filmed for Opekta, Otto Frank's company. Incredible.

Thanks much for that—incredible indeed. And thanks for the post, dnash.

.
posted by languagehat at 5:51 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by The Monkey at 6:01 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by lester at 6:23 AM on January 12, 2010


This thread has me in tears. Thank you, Miep.
posted by piratebowling at 6:57 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by cass at 7:03 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by chunking express at 7:42 AM on January 12, 2010


Amazing story. Incredible woman. I'm humbled.

.
posted by purephase at 7:56 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by snsranch at 8:18 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by sleepinglion at 8:42 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by Lynsey at 8:55 AM on January 12, 2010


There is nothing left to say except that the world needs more women like her to remind us of our basic humanity; in the face of unspeakable evil and almost certain death, doing the right thing is never a given and always a terrifying challenge. God bless you, Miep, for reminding us that the decisions we make at our own peril can sometimes change the perspective of generations to come... and that a long, beautiful life is just one of the rewards.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:28 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by georg_cantor at 10:31 AM on January 12, 2010


Thank you for being the best of us, for sheltering a candle in the darkness. We will not forget.
posted by Errant at 11:16 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, my heart breaks. It was so good to know Miep Gies was still in the world with us. She was heroically brave, true, and also a delightful person who brought joy to those she helped to hide (as Anne's diary repeatedly recounts.)

But most of all she was the epitome of loving kindness.

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. (Psalms 36:7)”

Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. (Psalms 63:3).”

And as the Talmud says:

Loving kindness is greater than laws; and the charities of life are more than all ceremonies.

Thank you, Miep. Words do not suffice.

.
posted by bearwife at 11:19 AM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


.
posted by nicepersonality at 11:52 AM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:05 PM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:22 PM on January 12, 2010


I wish I was more eloquent to comment on such an amazing life.
posted by Lokisbane at 2:26 AM on January 13, 2010


.
posted by MikeHarris at 3:28 PM on January 13, 2010


« Older Rapper Shaun Boothe...  |  "In many films, people never d... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments