Apart from the fact that she was an intimate friend of the Frank family, and helped to protect them for as long as possible during the war, Miep Gies is also to be thanked for the fact that Anne’s diary exists today. She concealed it after the family was taken prisoner, and, respecting Anne’s privacy, never read the volume. Had she done so, she now says, she would have had to destroy it, as the diary contained too much dangerous information that the Germans might have used against the leaders of the Dutch resistance. Although Gies’s loyalty to the Franks is now unquestioned, shortly after the war she and her husband had to undergo interrogation as suspects of having turned in the family to the Nazis. They were, however, exonerated of all charges.
It is unfortunate that the present memoir, valuable as it, should be presented in a diluted, “as told to” format. Surely Gies’s own words, however unliterary, would be preferable to the polished, sometimes artificial ghostwriting in the book. No one ever attempted to rewrite Anne Frank’s diary, and perhaps the same attitude should have been used in publishing the story of Miep Gies. Nevertheless, as the tale of a courageous Dutch woman behaving heroically in the worst of times, this book has much to recommend it, and it should prove important for students of World War II’s effect on Western Europe.