**Great Lenten book for young and old… God bless Miep Gies, who recently died. May the saintly Miep Gies pray for us in our life’s journey to eternity.
**“Painfully shy, awesomely brave, the unknown heroine behind Anne Frank’s diary”
By Glenys Roberts
Last updated at 11:33 AM on 13th January 2010
Without The Diary Of Anne Frank, the world might never have known the everyday horror of life under the Nazis. The little book by a talented teenager who died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp has become one of the world’s best-sellers since it made its first appearance in 1947. The diary describes in haunting detail the terror experienced by Anne’s Jewish family hiding from jack-booted Germans in an attic in occupied Amsterdam.
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/01/12/article-1242725-07D5F7C1000005DC-364_468x551.jpg Courageous: Miep Gies, the woman who hid Jewish youngster Anne Frank from the Nazis and guarded her diary that became one of the world’s most-read books.
The Diary of Anne Frank has become so familiar that it is hard to remember that without the humanity and bravery of one woman, it would never have been published.
Miep Gies, who has died just a month short of her 101st birthday, saved the diary pages from destruction by the Germans and gave them to Anne’s father, Otto - the only member of the Frank family to survive their unimaginable ordeal.
Miep was Anne’s confidante and the last of the handful of ‘helpers’ who enabled the Franks to hide for nearly two years before their capture. Her death is the final chapter in a tragic, but inspirational story. Though she was showered with honours by the Israeli, German and Dutch governments, Miep was so shy and unassuming that few people know how she came to play such a major role in the Franks’ dreadful saga.
One of the few non-Jews to help the Dutch community when the Germans invaded in 1940, she was an Austrian Roman Catholic by birth. Born in Vienna in 1909 and christened Hermine Santrouschitz, she was sent by her parents to stay with a family in Leiden in the Netherlands after the great upheavals of World War I led to food shortages in Austria.
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/01/12/article-0-002E07B500000258-258_235x265.jpg Anne Frank, whom Miep Gies protected.
The Dutch family - who gave her the nickname Miep - later adopted her and moved to Amsterdam. By the outbreak of World War II, she was working as secretary to Anne’s father, the wealthy director of an Amsterdam company producing pectin, the substance that causes jam to gel.
The charming Miep soon became a friend of Otto, his wife Edith and their two daughters, Margot, eight, and Anne, five. In 1941, when Miep married her Dutch boyfriend, Jan Gies, the Franks gave the happy couple a reception in the office.
By 1942, the mood had changed entirely. Persecution of the Jews in Holland was so bad that Otto realised that if his family were to have any chance of surviving they would have to go into hiding.
He asked Miep if she was prepared to help them. Without hesitation, and at very real risk to her own life, she agreed. Otto had prepared a secret annexe - its entrance concealed by a bookcase - in the attic above the firm’s offices. In July 1942, the family went into hiding there, leaving a false trail indicating that they’d fled to Switzerland.
Soon afterwards, they were joined by other Jews - the Van Pels family and Miep Gies’s family dentist. Eight people in all.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1242725/Miep-Gies-Painfully-shy-awesomely-brave-unknown-heroine-Anne-Franks-diary.html#ixzz0g0zfJc8Y