Since January 7 when I was first cast in the role, I have had the privilege of portraying Miep Gies in "The Diary of Anne Frank" performed by The Stage Company, the local theater group in my town. Over the past two weeks, we performed six shows: one for the junior high and five for the community. I am so blessed to have been a part of this awesome production. The amazing cast and director worked diligently to make this tale come to life for the audience. Audience and cast alike shed many tears as the heartbreaking true story unfolded.
The main players (Anne, her family, and the other Jews in hiding with them) are well known by everyone who knows the story. (If anyone doesn’t know the story, shame on him/her!) However, the minor characters such as like Miep and Jan Gies, Bep Voskuijl, Jo Kleiman, and Victor Kugler are often overlooked.
After portraying her on stage, I feel a special connection with Miep Gies. I confess I knew little about her until I auditioned for the play. I found the following information here.
Born Hermine Santrouschitz in Vienna in 1909, she moved to the Netherlands in 1920 to recuperate from tuberculosis. While living with a foster family, she took the name Miep.
She became a secretary for Otto Frank’s Opekta Company in 1933. Nine years later, Mr. Frank entrusted her with hiding his family. While the Franks and their friends were in hiding, Miep along with others brought them news and necessities.
When the Nazis arrested the Franks in 1944, Miep went to the security office in Amsterdam to attempt to get them released. She was unsuccessful.
Miep was one of the ladies who found Anne’s diary after the Franks left the “Secret Annex.” She presented the diary to Otto Frank after the war.
I feel so honored to have portrayed this extraordinary woman. She and others put their own lives on the line in an attempt to right a wrong created by their government. I hope if I am ever faced with a similar situation that I find the courage to follow her example.
For more information about Anne Frank and the amazing individuals involved in her story, please visit the website http://www.annefrank.org/en/.