-- Miep Gies, the office secretary who defied the Nazi
occupiers to hide Anne Frank and her family for two years
and saved the teenager's diary, has died, the Anne Frank
Museum said yesterday, January 11, 2010. She was
Gies' Web site
reported that she died Monday after a brief illness. The
report was confirmed by museum spokeswoman Maatje Mostar,
but she gave no details. The British Broadcasting Corp.
said she died in a nursing home after suffering a fall
Gies was the last
of the few non-Jews who supplied food, books and good
cheer to the secret annex behind the canal warehouse
where Anne, her parents, sister and four other Jews hid
for 25 months during World War II.
After the apartment
was raided by the German police, Gies gathered up Anne's
scattered notebooks and papers and locked them in a
drawer for her return after the war. The diary, which
Anne Frank was given on her 13th birthday, chronicles her
life in hiding from June 12, 1942 until August 1,
Gies and her husband Jan visit the Anne Frank House in
Amsterdam (1987 photo).
Gies refused to
read the papers, saying even a teenager's privacy was
sacred. Later, she said if she had read them she would
have had to burn them because they incriminated the
Anne Frank died of
typhus at age 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
in March 1945, just two weeks before the camp was
liberated. Gies gave the diary to Anne's father Otto, the
only survivor, who published it in 1947.
After the diary was
published, Gies tirelessly promoted causes of tolerance.
She brushed aside the accolades for helping hide the
Frank family as more than she deserved --as if, she said,
she had tried to save all the Jews of occupied
"This is very
unfair. So many others have done the same or even far
more dangerous work," she wrote in an e-mail to The
Associated Press days before her 100th birthday last
"The Diary of Anne
Frank" was the first popular book about the Holocaust,
and has been read by millions of children and adults
around the world in some 65 languages.
For her courage,
Gies was bestowed with the "Righteous Among the Nations"
title by the Israeli Holocaust museum Yad Vashem. She has
also been honored by the German Government, Dutch
monarchy and educational institutions.
resisted being made a character study of heroism for the
"I don't want to be
considered a hero," she said in a 1997 online chat with
people would grow up with the feeling that you have to be
a hero to do your human duty. I am afraid nobody would
ever help other people, because who is a hero? I was not.
I was just an ordinary housewife and secretary."