New York: Simon and Schuster Inc., 1987. 220pp.
Anne Frank Remembered is the autobiography of Miep Gies, the woman who helped the Frank family survive during their two years in hiding. Her book is a primary source or first hand account of the persecution of Jewish people in Nazi occupied Holland during the second world war.
It is also the first hand account of the hiding of Jews such as the Frank family, the Van Daan family, and Dr. Albert Dussel during this time.
In regard to the book’s autobiographical format, the author, Miep Gies, does not present the reader with a clear thesis statement. Instead, throughout the book the author discusses her main views toward the actions of the Nazis and their oppression of the Jewish people. Her disapproval of German Nazi actions is evident in the following quotation, when she was asked to join the Nazi Girls’ Club:
” ‘How can I join such a club?’ I icily asked. ‘Look at what the Germans are
doing to the Jews in Germany.
‘ …Let her take a good look at me and see
with her own eyes that some ‘Aryan’ woman was not to be swept in by
the Nazis.” (Gies, p. 41, 1987).
The main source of background to the author’s viewpoint is her own story. In order to further discuss her main points and views, a summary of her story must be given.
The book began with a brief history of the childhood of Miep Gies. She was born in Vienna, Austria in 1909, where she lived with her parents until the age eleven year. She was then sent to Amsterdam by a program in the aid of undernourished and sick children and was to be adopted by a Dutch family. She became used to the Dutch way of life as she grew older and soon she began to consider herself Dutch, not Viennese.
Her association with the Frank family began when she was given a job with the Pectacon Company, owned and operated by Mr. Otto Frank. His company made and sold pectin, which was used for making jam. Miep’s first part of the job was to make jam with different formulas of pectin. After becoming an expert jam maker, she was placed at a desk in the office to do office work. She became very close to the Frank family and was invited to their home regularly for meals.
She also began a relationship with a man named Jan, whom she later married.
Throughout her book, Miep incorporated much information on Hitler’s Nazi movement in both the Netherlands and the rest of Europe. She described the slow persecution of the Jews and the various restrictions placed upon them. In July of 1942, Miep and her husband helped the Frank family move into a hiding place named ‘the secret annex’, located in secret rooms of the Pectacon company building. It had become too dangerous for the Frank family to live as Jews in Amsterdam. An order came for the Pectacon company to be liquidated as a Jewish business, so Mr.
Frank turned it over in the names of his trusted, Christian business associates: Mr. Kraler and Mr. Koophuis. Although legally Mr. Frank had no ties with the business, it was still secretly directed by him with the means of clandestine meetings between the three men.
Miep described her responsibilities in shopping for the family and providing them with the necessities of life.
She and her husband came up with plans to get extra ration cards in order to feed the Franks’, the Van Daans’, Dr. Dussel, and themselves. All of the things she did for the families put a risk on her own life; even providing them with her companionship was illegal. However, Miep and her husband became one of the only links the families in hiding had to the outside world.
On the morning of August 4, 1944, the efforts of Miep and the families failed when their hiding place was raided by Nazi officials. The families were arrested and sent to prison camps.
The only thing left for Miep to do was retrieve some of their belongings. During her quick surveyance of the scene of the .