Miep Gies, the last surviving member of the group who helped protect Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis, has died in the Netherlands aged 100. [Story continues]
The impact of Mrs. Gies' actions cannot be understated: a third of the manuscript she preserved was published as the book The Diary of Anne Frank, which became the first or most personified exposure to the Holocaust for many people. For readers, Anne's diary changed World War II's victims from people to persons.
The book has also seen countless adaptations on stage and screen, and was used prominently in the 2007 film Freedom Writers, based on a true story, which featured the character of Miep Gies. In one scene, a high school student calls her his hero. She responds, "Oh, no. No, no, no, young man, no. I am not a hero. No. I did what I had to do, because it was the right thing to do. That is all … Even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can, within their own small ways, turn on a small light in a dark room."
I hope, first and foremost, that we never find ourselves in the world Mrs. Gies did — but, if we do, I hope we can follow her example and wisdom.