Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bearing Witness

The 100-year-old woman who died yesterday takes something with her that is being lost in this century of hatreds on the rise everywhere--a human compassion that could persist at the risk of her own survival.

Miep Gies, who sheltered Anne Frank and her family, was known for giving the world a gifted young girl's diary of a life never to be fulfilled, but her own longevity is a testament to the decency of unremarkable people who refuse to trade the lives of others for their own safety and comfort.

In a time when empathy can be seen as a fault and lethal selfishness rationalized as normal behavior, the story of Miep Gies, who sheltered eight Jews for years at the daily risk of her own life, is a reminder that there are always people who hold onto their humanity in even the worst of times.

"I want to go on living even after my death!" Anne Frank wrote. Although she was gone before her sixteenth birthday, her spirit remains as a gift from the centenarian who died yesterday.

After first reading the diary, she had said, " So much had been lost, but now Anne’s voice would never be lost. My young friend had left a remarkable legacy to the world."

So has Miep Gies.

1 comment:

Holte Ender said...

A remarkable women was Miep Gies, one of many from that time, mostly unsung.

Frau Gies life deserves all the respect she is getting on this day.