Miep Gies, helper of Anne Frank, turns 100
Gies helped hide the Frank family for two years in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam and guarded Anne’s diary after she was arrested.THE HAGUE -- Miep Gies, who helped hide Anne Frank and her family for two years in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam in the 1940s, turned 100 on Sunday.
Gies has declined interviews and plans to celebrate her birthday quietly with family and friends, the Anne Frank museum announced in a statement last week.
"Miep is in reasonably good health and remains deeply involved with the remembrance of Anne Frank and spreading the message of her story," it said.
Anne Frank chronicled the details of her teenage life hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam from 1942 to 1944, when she was arrested and taken to a concentration camp where she died.
Her diary, guarded by Gies after the child's arrest, later became an international best seller and has been translated into 70 languages.
Austrian-born Gies moved to the Netherlands at the age of 11. From 1933, she worked as a secretary for Anne's father, Otto.
"When Otto approached her in the spring of 1942 to help him and his family go into hiding, Miep did not hesitate," said the statement. "For two years, together with the other helpers, she made sure that the people in hiding were supplied with food and other essentials ... putting their own lives at risk."
Otto Frank, his wife Edith and daughters Margot and Anne hid for nearly two years with four other people in an empty section of the building owned by Otto Frank's company. The Amsterdam annex is now a museum.
After the group was betrayed and arrested in August 1944, Gies kept the girl's diary in safekeeping and later gave it back to Otto Frank -- the only one of his family to return from the Nazi concentration camps after the war.
"I'm not a hero," the statement quotes Gies as having said. "It wasn't something I planned in advance, I simply did what I could to help.”
She has been given honors in Germany and the Netherlands.