Miep Gies, Austrian who hid Anne Frank and saved her diary

Miep Gies holds a new edition of "The Diary of Anne Frank" as she sits next to a poster-sized photo of Anne Frank at a New York news conferece on March 9, 1995. (PAUL HURSCHMAN/AP)

“I am not a hero, but did what seemed necessary at the time”

“Imagine young 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.”

Born in Vienna, Austria February 15th, 1909 as Hermine Santrouschitz, Miep Gies was Anna Frank’s father’s secretary and one of the four helpers who hid the family during World War II.

Like many Austrian children after World War I,  she was malnourished and therefor her parents let her participate in a charity program and she was sent to Holland.
After World War II many small children were sent to Switzerland. On a personal note I would like to thank for this generosity. My father, even if he was not yet old enough to participate in the program and was only taken due to my grandmothers’ insistency, because he suffered from malnourishment, he got to spent time in Switzerland and got to taste chocolate for the first time.
This generosity and helping the youth of war beaten countries pays off. Would it not have been for  the charity of the Dutch people, Miep might not have been there to help Anne Frank’s family and the treasure of Anne Frank’s diary might have been lost to us.

August 4th 1944 the family was found by the “Green Police”, Miep was present and only excused from punishment, because the policeman was from her native Vienna. After the police left, Miep retrieved personal items of Anne Frank’s family, including the precious diary.

Gies brushed aside the accolades for helping hide the Frank family as more than she deserved. “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 in February.

After the war Miep Gies was decorated with Germany’s and Austria’s highest honors and in her 100th birth year the international astronomical society named a Asteroid in her honor.

She died Jan 11th after a brief illness in Hoorn, Netherlands.