Anne Frank. Credit: Martin Thielecke, Flickr CC BY NC 2.0.

The story of Anne Frank is well-known, thanks to the diary left behind by the 15-year-old Jewish girl recounting her two years in hiding during World War II.

Less well-known is the story of Miep Gies, the Dutch Catholic woman responsible for helping to hide Anne’s family, and for later preserving her diary.

As a child in an impoverished family, Miep was forced to leave her home in Vienna for the Netherlands, where she was taken in by a Christian family.


Decades later, she would recall their kindness, which she described as “medicine as much as the bread, the marmalade, the good Dutch milk and butter and cheese, the toasty temperature of the warm rooms.”

Miep went on to work for Otto Frank – Anne’s father – during the depression, and their families became friends. Miep and her husband, along with their other Dutch acquaintances, helped to hide the Frank family in the annex of the business for two years, before they were discovered by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp.

Later, Miep preserved Anne’s diary and passed it on to her father, who was the only family member to survive the concentration camp.

Read more about Miep Gies’ life and the book that she authored here.