Honorary Chair Miep Gies, 97: “I Was Privileged to Have Known Anne…Help Us Honor and Celebrate Her Life and Legacy”
NEW YORK, NY (February 2, 2005)
The Anne Frank Center in partnership with David Clark, announced today a global commemoration to celebrate the life and legacy of Anne Frank, on her 75th birthday. Miep Gies has agreed to serve as an Honorary Chairperson for the landmark event. Unknown to many, Miep Gies, 94, is the woman who hid Anne and her family for two years during the Nazi occupation of Holland, and later found Anne’s Diary.
“I was privileged to have known Anne, and believe there is no better person to reach out to the youth of the world to promote tolerance and understanding. Anne’s writing and life promoted human rights for all,” said Miep Gies who still resides in Amsterdam. “I’m honored to serve as an Honorary Chairperson for Anne’s 75th birthday and urge people everywhere to stand up and take notice of this historic event, and help us honor her life and legacy.”
The remarkable life of Miep Gies similarly represents courage and sacrifice. During the occupation of Holland Miep Gies risked her life daily to hide Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis. For more than two years she helped the Franks and four others evade the Nazi’s by secretly bringing food, comfort and news of the outside world to them in their tiny attic hideout. Following the tragic day when the family was discovered, Miep Gies again risked her life by trying to buy their freedom from the Gestapo, and it was Miep who found Anne’s Diary, and kept it so she could return it to her friend. When it was obvious Anne had perished in the notorious Bergen Belsen Concentration camp, Miep gave the Diary to Anne’s Father Otto, the only person of the eight in hiding to survive the camps.
Since that time, Miep has dedicated her life to keeping the memory of Anne Frank alive, and is the only person mentioned in The Diary of Anne Frank who is still alive.
“There is no other young person in history who has such global recognition and appeal, and whose circumstances so poignantly highlight the cause and effect of hatred – than Anne Frank,” said Elisabeth Feerick, Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center USA. “Anne’s diary has served as an inspiration for many generations of ordinary and extraordinary people. It is our hope that this celebratory event will build on Anne’s legacy and continue to inspire each of us to uphold her ideals and to be steadfast in promoting moral courage when we combat discrimination. It is a fight and cause to which she gave her voice and her life.”
In addition to raising global awareness of Anne Frank’s legacy of tolerance and understanding, 100 percent of the event’s net proceeds will be donated to the Anne Frank Center so Anne’s message of hope and tolerance can continue. For additional information regarding the event or supporting the work of the Anne Frank Center, information can be found by visiting www.annefrank.com
“We are both proud and honored to be a part of this extraordinary project, and to promote the tapestry of Human Rights that Anne Frank championed during her short life. We firmly believe that the youth of the world will stand up and take notice, as Anne speaks to them – uniquely as one of their own. People understand that Anne did not champion Human Rights when it was easy or convenient”, said David Clark, CEO of EPOP Productions, “rather, she promoted these ideals when it was hard, when she was imprisoned in an attic for years, simply because she was Jewish. I have no doubt that her message of hope and tolerance will continue to resonate, and believe the world will get involved with her Human Rights event, perhaps as never before.”
Since its publication over fifty years ago, The Diary of Anne Frank has been published in 67 languages, and has sold an astounding 31 million copies. Her message of tolerance has inspired generations, including world leaders, such as President John F. Kennedy who said of Anne – “Of the multitude who throughout human history have spoken for human dignity in times of great suffering and loss, no voice is more compelling than that of Anne Frank”.