Miep Gies,the last survivor among Anne Franks protectors and the woman who preserved the diary that is a testament to the human spirit in the face of unfathomable evil,died Monday night,the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam said. She was 100. The British Broadcasting Corporation said Gies suffered a fall late last month and died at a nursing home.
I am not a hero, Gies wrote in her memoir,Anne Frank Remembered,published in 1987. 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.
Gies sought no accolades for joining with her husband and three others in hiding Anne Frank,her father,mother and older sister and four other Dutch Jews for 25 months in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Since then she has travelled the world speaking against intolerance. The West German government presented her with its highest civilian medal in 1989.
When the Gestapo raided the hiding place in the annex to Otto Franks office on August 4,1944,and arrested its eight occupants,it left behind his daughter Annes diary and her writings. Gies gathered up those writings and hid them,unread,hoping that Anne would return to claim them.
But when Annes father,Otto Frank,returned to Amsterdam after World War II,having been liberated from Auschwitz,he was the lone survivor of the family. Anne Frank had died three months before her 16th birthday. Gies gave Annes writings to Otto Frank,and they were first published in the Netherlands in 1947. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl has since been read by millions.
In her diary on May 8,1944,Anne Frank wrote how we are never far from Mieps thoughts. In her memoir,Gies told of her emotions when she finally read the diary. She wrote: The emptiness in my heart was eased. So much had been lost,but now Annes voice would never be lost.