Monday, February 9, 2009

Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies

Title: Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family
Author: Miep Gies
Finished: January 2009
Pages: 272

I first heard about this book from Trish's blog as a book giveaway. After reading this blurb and talking to her, I knew this had to be on my list of books to read. It has been years since I've read the Diary of Anne Frank, but I remembered how much it touched me as a child, and how interesting it would be to hear another person's perspective who was also there at the time.

Miep comes to know the Frank Family before they go into hiding, as an office worker for Anne's father, Otto Frank. Miep earns the trust of Mr. Frank not only in the business aspect, but also as a friend. When it comes time for the Frank family to go into hiding, Miep is one of the workers that is in trusted with this important information. Miep is the one who is in charge of gathering food the for families hidden upstairs.

The stories that she shares of the Frank family give us a more intimate look at not only Anne, but the other family members as well. It is obvious that Miep adores Anne, and she gives the reader a different glimpse than that in the Diary of Anne Frank. When reading of such a tragedy, it is often easy to forget that Anne was only a child when all of this happened, and how hard it must have been for those in hiding to remain so still and quite throughout the day for fear of being detected. Children long to run and play and sing and dance around, but while in hiding, there was not space or time for the joys of childhood to play out.

Miep does a great job of telling you not only the story of the Frank family but of her own life as well. During this awful time of war, Miep falls in love and marries a wonderful man, who is also a helpful in hiding the Frank family and coming to visit with them when he can. Miep also gives you an idea of what it was like to be a Jew in hiding by sharing with us her experiences. Anne so desperately welcomed when Miep or one of the other workers came up to visit that Miep and her husband were asked to stay the night one night. Staying late int he office after everyone else was gone, they snuck up the staircase and were treated to a wonderful dinner by the families in hiding and were given Anne's room to stay the night. When morning came, Anne was curious as to how they slept that night. Needless to say, sleep was not easy, there were lots of sounds that kept them awake, as well as being fearful of being discovered. Her description of the night spent up in the office gives you a first hand experience of what it must have been like for them day in and day out for years.

When reading stories that occurred during World War II, I often wonder what I would do in their place. Everyone likes to think they would be strong enough to protect others without regard for what was to become of themselves, but if we were actually put in that position, what would happen? I think it takes amazing strength and courage to do something like this. Miep knew what the punishment would be if it was discovered that the Frank family was upstairs, and when they were found, it was her courage to say a few words to the guard that kept her safe.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who, like myself, was touched by the Diary of Anne Frank.

1 comment:

Trish said...

So glad you read and loved this one, Kari. Isn't it amazing what these people did for one another? You're right that we can all talk about being strong and doing the right thing, but when it is a matter of life and death? It is so amazing to me how this group of people helped the Franks.