For over 2 years, Gies and her accomplices hid Frank, his family, and others in a secret attic annex in a building owned by Frank’s company. Gies and friends fed and cared for the refugees, and avoided the prying eyes of German soldiers, spies, and sympathizers.
Frank’s teenage daughter, Anne, chronicled the secret, hidden existence in a diary. In August 1944, an informant disclosed the hiding place. Its 8 occupants, plus several of those who had helped them hide, were arrested and deported to concentration camps. Gies was questioned by the Germans and never denied helping the Franks. She defied their orders and returned to the hiding place, whereupon she found the young girl’s diary. Somehow, Gies and her husband avoided arrest. Gies kept the diary safe, and never read it.
By the end of World War II, Otto Frank was the only surviver among the 8 who hid. The rest, including the thoughtful and observant Anne, died in the concentration camps. Frank returned to Amsterdam, resumed his friendship with Gies, and was given the diary. He knew this was his daughter’s legacy to him, and to the world, and had it published as The Diary of a Young Girl in 1947. It remains one of the most enduring and popular books of the 20th century.
Gies lived a long life and in time gained acclaim and praise for what she, her husband, and their friends accomplished. “I myself am just an ordinary woman. I simply had no choice,” Gies said when asked why she risked imprisonment and death in order to hide her Jewish friends. They were her friends, and she was a friend for life. Use her example and be a great friend.
From September 2010, http://raising-a-man.tumblr.com