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January 11, 2010

WIESENTHAL CENTER MOURNS THE PASSING OF MIEP GIES

“She was a beacon of light during the dark days of the Holocaust,” says Center Founder

The Simon Wiesenthal Center mourns the loss of Miep Gies, who, during the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands during World War II, was part of a small group of courageous individuals who risked their lives on a daily basis to hide Anne Frank and her family. Following the arrest of the Frank family by the Gestapo in 1944, she returned to the attic and found and preserved for the world, Anne Frank's diary.

"My story is a story of very ordinary people during extraordinarily terrible times," she said. "Times the likes of which I hope with all my heart will never, never come again. It is for all of us ordinary people over the world to see to it that they do not."

Miep Gies visited the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance several times over the years to speak with children and adults of her experiences. In 1994, she was the recipient of the Center's Righteous Among the Nations Award.   

Some of the Center’s extensive collection of WWII artifacts, including an autograph book signed by Anne Frank, are on display at the Center's Museum of Tolerance.

"Miep Gies was a beacon of light during the dark days of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "Without her, the world would never have known about Anne Frank and many millions of people would never have been inspired by her story."

Photo: Miep Gies receives the Wiesenthal Center's Righteous Among Nations Award. Los Angeles, May 12, 1994. Pictured (L-R): Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; Miep Gies; Whoopi Goldberg. Photos by Bart Bartholomew Courtesy Simon Wiesenthal Center 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter
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