- NAME: Miep Gies
- OCCUPATION: Anti-War Activist
- BIRTH DATE: February 15, 1909
- DEATH DATE: January 11, 2010
- Did You Know?: Miep and her husband also hid a Dutch student in their house.
- Did You Know?: Published in 1947, Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl has since been translated into 67 languages.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Vienna, Austria
- PLACE OF DEATH: Hoorn, Netherlands
- Full Name: Hermine Santruschitz Gies
- AKA: Hermine Santruschitz
- AKA: Hermine Santrouschitz
- AKA: Miep Gies
Best Known For
Hermine Santruschitz Gies, better known as Miep Gies, helped hide Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis, and saved her diaries.
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Miep Gies was born on February 15, 1909, in Vienna to Austrian parents, but because of illness and impoverishment, she was sent to the Netherlands for care and bonded with her foster family. She married a Dutch man and worked for Otto Frank, becoming close with his family. She, along with several colleagues,
"People should never think that you have to be a very special person to help those who need you."
"You are the heroes. You are the heroes every day."
hid the Franks in a secret annex to the office for more than two years before their discovery by the Gestapo. She rescued Anne Frank's diaries and later returned them to Otto Frank, the sole survivor of his family. He had them published. Gies recorded her own memoir of the time in 1987 and died on January 11, 2010, at age 100.
Miep Gies was born Hermine Santruschitz (Santrouschitz in Dutch) on February 15, 1909, in Vienna, Austria, the second daughter of working-class Austrian parents. Because there was little work and food shortages were frequent in the wake of World War I, Hermine was accepted into a Dutch program for malnourished children.
In December 1920, she was placed with the Nieuwenburg family in Leiden to help regain her strength and health. The family nicknamed her Miep, and not just the name stuck—Miep stayed with her foster family long past the initial three months, moving with them to Amsterdam. She did go back to see her family in Vienna when she was 16, but trepidation about having to stay there prevented her from fully enjoying the visit. She was much relieved when her parents told her they understood and accepted her love for her adopted country and family.
Miep finished her schooling at 18 and got a job in the office of a textile company, where she worked until she was 24, when she was laid off due to the Depression. After several months of unemployment, a neighbor alerted Miep to a possible position at Nederlandsche Opekta, a company that provided ingredients for making jam. She interviewed with Otto Frank, who due to Nazi oppression of the Jews had fled Germany with his family and his business. They bonded through their fractured Dutch and fluent German, and when Miep passed her jam-making test she immediately began working for him.
Miep and her boyfriend, Jan Gies, courted for years but couldn't afford to get married. They finally found housing, but shortly afterward, in the spring of 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and Miep was ordered to return to her native Vienna. Having sensed the threat, Miep had written a letter to Queen Wilhelmina in 1939 in an attempt to attain Dutch nationality. Due to a lucky connection of her uncle's in the Viennese civil service, Miep was able to get her birth certificate in the requisite time. She and Jan Gies married on July 16, 1941, with Otto Frank and his family, including his daughter Anne, in attendance.
In June of 1942, considering the worsening situation for the Jews, the Franks decided to go into hiding in the secret annex of their office building. Along with a select few others, Miep agreed to be a "helper," bringing them food that she would gather from different grocers with illegal ration cards her husband had procured as part of the Dutch resistance.
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