Miep Gies died January 11th aged 100. She is the brave Dutch lady who helped to sustain the Frank family whilst they were hiding from the Nazi occupiers in WW2. For 25 months she helped to sustain them until they were betrayed. She also preserved Anne’s diary until she could hand it back to Anne’s father, Otto, when he returned to Amsterdam.

Miep travelled widely for many years taking Anne’s message of hope and tolerance to the world.

She was one of the many resistance workers who risked their own lives and freedom, to help overcome the evil of Naziism and I often wonder how I would react in their position. I would like to think I would have their courage, but I suppose none of us know until we are tested.

When I lived in Norway I met people who had been in the Norwegian resistance, none of them looked like the conventional idea of heroes and heroines, just ordinary folk like you and me, but, when they were tested they were not found wanting.

Recently there was a programme on TV about “everyday heroes” People who acted instinctively to help or save strangers, those who do it on a regular basis, the emergency services, rescue services etc.  people who do no conspicuous heroic deeds, but quietly spend their lives helping others, running youth groups in deprived areas, caring for the less able members of society or being inspirational to others by the way they cope with their own misfortunes and tragedies.

All these people demonstrate the truth of what Anne Frank wrote in her diary, that the goodness of humanity will prevail over evil. Sadly Anne died before she could see how her message would spread throughout the world (Her diary has been translated into 68 languages)

When we visited the house in which they were hidden I was expecting to feel a sad atmosphere there, ( I had felt a very bad atmosphere when I visited a place in Paris where the Jews had been rounded up and waited to be sent to the concentration camps), but was surprised to feel no such atmosphere at the house. I thought  afterwards that this was possibly because there had been hope in that house that they would be able to remain there until the war was over, and the despair came later in another place.

When so much prominence is given to greedy bankers and MPs, violence among young people,  and some religious leaders (of all denominations) preaching intolerance, it is easy to forget that these are in the minority and the majority are decent, moral, and hardworking humans.

It is easy to become depressed by the “state of the world”, but if a 14 year old girl, at the darkest part of our recent past, can still believe that the goodness of humanity will prevail, surely we can too.

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