She never considered herself a hero. Of course she was, but Miep Gies just did what she thought was right. On her website, she said simply:
"I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did or more – much more - during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the hearts of those of us who bear witness. Never a day goes by that I do not think of what happened then."
In those dark times, Miep Gies help hide Anne Frank's family, the Van Dams, and Dr. Dussel. She made sure they were comfortable and well, sometimes bringing Anne precious movie magazines for Anne loved movies so. When everyone was found, Miep ran into the attic. I could almost see her, frightened and scared--then she sees Kitty, Anne's beloved diary. Anne will want this when she comes home, Miep thought. She picked up the diary and took it home.
Months later, she met Otto Frank, the lone survivor. She knew Kitty belonged with him, and a couple of years later, The Diary of Anne Frank was published. One has to wonder: what if Miep didn't take the diary? What if she was so distraught she couldn't go back to the annex. She didn't. She did what Maya Angelou's mother once said: "When you do the right thing you do it without thinking." She didn't think. She did the right thing.
When I found out Miep Gies died yesterday, I felt sad. Of course she was 100, and it was a good life. However, it wasn't her death that made me sad. It was the coverage of her death. If you didn't hear about Gies's death, well hey! It's because Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol! What will we do without his Addison DeWitt putdowns? Good old Sarah Palin is going on Fox News! All right, she has a job! Is Harry Reid a racist? Let's talk about this until we get sick of it! Jay Leno might go back to 11:30! Conan O'Brian might go to Fox! Oh dear, what will happen?
Okay, I'll admit it: I'm media obsessed as the next woman. I have several Say Yes To The Dress episodes on my DVR, and I read Entertainment Weekly at the gym. However, what the hell is going on that Simon Cowell gets more coverage than Miep Gies? I'm sure Mr. Cowell would agree with me that it's absurd, and the media should know better than this.
Of course, Miep Gies wouldn't care. I remember her at the 1996 Oscars, when a documentary on Anne Frank won an Oscar. The maker of the documentary brought Miep up and introduced her to the audience. "You don't have to speak," he whispered in her ear. She stood there while the audience, including a crying Gwyneth Paltrow, gave her a standing ovation. As she stood there, did she hear Anne's voice? What would Anne say if she was there? Oh Miep! Isn't this amazing? I don't any of these people, but they are movie stars! They know who I am! Thank you Miep. Thank you.
And thank you Miep, from all of us.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries