Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Two extraordinary women

Two extraordinary women passed away this January.

Miep Gies was born on February 15, 1909 in Vienna and died January 11, 2010 in the Netherlands, aged 100. She was the last survivor of Anne Frank's protectors and the woman who preserved her diary. Miep was employed at Otto Frank's company and helped hide the Frank family for 25 months from the Nazis in Amsterdam. The Gestapo raided their hiding place on Aug. 4, 1944 and Anne left her diary behind. When Miep found the diary she hid it unread, hoping that one day she could return it to Anne. But only Anne's father Otto Frank survived the concentration camps and returned after World War II and so she gave it to him. The diary was first published in 1947.

Freya von Moltke was born on March 29, 1911 in Cologne and died January 1, 2010 in Norwich, Vermont, aged 98. She was the widow of Count Helmuth James von Moltke, who as a member of the anti-resistance movement in Germany was hanged by the Nazis in 1945. She hid her husbands' documents and letters in the beehives of their estate in Kreisau/Krzyzowa , now part of Poland and in 1990 published them as "Letters to Freya". In 1990 Kreisau became an international youth meeting center for European understanding.

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