Born Hermine Santruschitz, she is better known as Miep Gies. While millions of people all over the world know about Anne Frank, far fewer are aware of Miep Gies, the woman who sustained Frank and her family in hiding during World War II. The humanitarian actions of Gies more than fifty years ago in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam have had a special and enduring impact. Were it not for Miep Gies, the world would never have met Anne Frank.
Moral courage and modesty are at the heart of Miep’s character. For more than two years, she risked her own life daily to illegally protect and care for the Franks and four of their friends hiding from the Nazis in an attic. Miep insists that she is not a hero. “I myself am just an ordinary woman. I simply had no choice,” Gies knew of many other Dutch people who sheltered or helped Jews during the war. Her name has become known, she said, only “because I had an Anne.” Gies assigned the title of hero to the eight souls who hid in the attic. “They were the brave people,” she said.
Because I am done with school, a few months ago I decided I needed a new project. After much consideration, I thought I should lead the canonization of Miep Gies to make her a Saint in the Catholic Church. She was born into the Church. This morning I received an email from her son Paul, who said, “To be honest; my mother would not have wanted any efforts and neither would I want my mother to be a Saint of the church. I hope that you will understand and pursue no action in this direction.” I am certainly disappointed but will duly honor his request and not organize further.
I need to put my thinking cap back on and find another project. Pretty cool that Paul responded, though.