Jan Gies

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Jan Gies
Born (1905-10-18)18 October 1905
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died 26 January 1993(1993-01-26) (aged 87)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch

Jan Gies (Dutch pronunciation: [jɑŋ ɣis]) (18 October 1905 – 26 January 1993) was a member of the Dutch Resistance who, with his wife Miep, helped hide Anne Frank and her family from Nazi persecution during the occupation of the Netherlands.

Life[edit]

Jan Augustus Gies (also known as Henk van Santen in The Diary of Anne Frank) was born and raised in Amsterdam's south side. He met his future wife, Miep Gies, in 1933 when he was a bookkeeper and she an office worker at a local textile company. It was not until after they'd gone their separate ways - Jan into the Dutch Social Services and Miep to Otto Frank's company, Opekta - that they met each other again socially in 1936. They married in Amsterdam on July 16, 1941, when Miep was threatened with deportation back to Vienna after she refused to join a Nazi women's group. Their wedding was attended by Otto and Anne Frank, Hermann van Pels and his wife, and Miep's colleagues Victor Kugler, Bep Voskuijl, and Johannes Kleiman. Later that year, Gies was appointed the nominal director of Otto Frank's company after he was forced to resign from the board under the newly introduced Nazi laws which forbade Jews to hold directorships, and from then on, the company traded under the name Gies & Co.[citation needed]

As the persecution of Amsterdam's Jewish population intensified he dedicated himself to assisting Jews and others escape by obtaining illegal ration cards for food, finding them hiding places, and securing British newspapers free from Nazi propaganda. Gies aided the Frank family's escape to their hiding place at the Gies & Co premises at 263 Prinsengracht. He visited frequently during their two year confinement,[citation needed] and with his wife spent a night in the secret annex to experience the terror there for themselves.[1]

In addition to their concealment of the Frank and van Pels families and of Fritz Pfeffer at the Prinsengracht, Miep and Jan also took in a student, who had refused to sign a Nazi oath.[2] Following the arrest and deportation of the hidden families in August 1944, Miep rescued the diaries and other manuscripts of Anne Frank from the hiding place before it was ransacked by the Dutch secret police. Of the eight people she and Jan had assisted to hide, Otto Frank was the sole survivor. Upon Frank's return to Amsterdam in June 1945 he moved in with them, and stayed with them for seven years before he emigrated to Switzerland to be close to his mother.[citation needed]

Jan Gies (middle), Miep Gies, 1989

After the publication of Anne Frank's diary, under the title Het Achterhuis (The Backhouse; often translated as The Secret Annex) in 1947, Jan and Miep found themselves the subjects of media attention, particularly after the diary was translated into English as The Diary of a Young Girl and adapted for the stage and screen. They attended memorial ceremonies and gave lectures about Anne Frank and the importance of resisting fascism.[citation needed]

Death[edit]

In 1993, Jan Gies died from diabetes, aged 87. He was survived by his wife, Hermine "Miep" Gies who died at the age of 100 in 2010 and his son Paul Gies who was born in 1950, daughter-in-law Lucie, and three grandchildren, Erwin, Jeanine, and David.

Further reading[edit]

  • Anne Frank Remembered, Miep Gies with Alison Leslie Gold, Simon and Schuster, 1987.
  • The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank, Penguin, 2002.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldstein, Richard (11 January 2010). "Miep Gies, Protector of Anne Frank, Dies at 100". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Goldstein, Richard (11 January 2010). "Miep Gies, Protector of Anne Frank, Dies at 100". The New York Times.