Tuesday, January 12, 2010
A NORMAL PERSON WHO DID SPECIAL THINGS!
On the way into work this morning, I heard that Ms. Miep Gies had died at 100. Impressive age but not the reason for her on-air obituary. She was the office secretary who defied the Nazi occupiers by hiding Anne Frank and her family for two years and saved the teenager's diary
That story is a bringer of tears in itself. But the commentator did what is all too often done when it comes to getting in that “this story is unique” standard of today’s journalism.
Ms. Gies was the last of the few non-Jews who supplied food, books and good cheer to the secret annex behind the canal warehouse where the Franks hide along with other Jews hid for 25 months during World War II.
After the apartment was raided by the German police, Gies gathered up Anne's scattered notebooks and papers and locked them in a drawer for her return after the war. But as we all know Anne did not survive the war having died of typhus at age 15 in a concentration camp in March of 1945. Yes that was toward the end of the war and her camp was liberated just two weeks after her death.
Ms. Gies said she did not read the diary but after the war, Otto Frank, Anne’s father, returned to Amsterdam and lived with the Gies family. When he learned of Anne’s deaths, she gave him the diary saying, “this is Anne’s legacy”.
Ms. Gies who has been hailed as a hero, never accepted that she was special herself. She claimed she did what she had to because these people needed help. She said, “"I don't want to be considered a hero. Imagine young people would grow up with the feeling that you have to be a hero to do your human duty. I am afraid nobody would ever help other people, because who is a hero? I was not. I was just an ordinary housewife and secretary."
This is where the announcer pissed me off. Just after a recording of Ms. Gies was played saying just what I wrote about her not being special and why she said it, this announcer ignores her wishes and says, “but she was special . . .” Why did this idiot announcer need to contradict Ms. Gies and her well thought out answer to why she helped hide folks during that insane war?
She was an ordinary person who did special things. Her husband died in 1993. She is survived by her son and three grandchildren.
You can read and listen to this NPR article at: