I finished watching A Small Light last night. It’s on National Geographic and Disney+. It follows the heroic story of Miep Gies and her husband Jan Giesm and others, who risked their lives to shelter Anne Frank’s family from the Nazis for more than two years during World War II.
I highly recommend A Small Light because it gives a different perspective on the Anne Frank story. However, I did have a few observations—not much criticism—but observances.
The actress Bel Powley who plays Miep Gies, starred in a movie a few years ago titled The Diary of a Teenage Girl I suppose you can all see a connection here—I often think that this is the type of diary Anne Frank would have written if the Nazis hadn’t occupied the Netherlands. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is about a 15-year-old girl who becomes sexually active. It might sound odd, but this is something that denied to Anne.
Another observation was one of the last scenes in A Small Light where Miep Gies confronted Karl Josef Silberbauer, the Gestapo officer who was in charge of the raid on the annexe. It appeared that he was slightly reluctant to arrest the Frank family and the others.
On 4 August 1944, Silberbauer was ordered by his superior, SS-Obersturmführer (Lieutenant) Julius Dettmann, to investigate a tip-off that Jews were being hidden in the upstairs rooms at 263 Prinsengracht. He took a few Dutch policemen with him and interrogated Victor Kugler about the entrance to the hiding place. Miep Gies and Johannes Kleiman were also questioned, and while Kugler and Kleiman were arrested and the young secretary Bep Voskuijl managed to escape with documents that would have incriminated the black market of the Secret Annex protectors, Gies was allowed to stay on the premises. She later surmised this was because she recognized and connected with Silberbauer’s Viennese accent.
I am not sure if he was reluctant, All that I have read of him is that he was an ardent Nazi.
Another observation made me think, and this is something I have mentioned before, that maybe the people in the annexe weren’t necessarily betrayed by a person, but perhaps by a noise they may have made themselves. August can be a hot month in Amsterdam, and they did have the windows open from time to time. The drama shows that, especially the younger ones in the annexe, could be rowdy sometimes.
All of this doesn’t matter because the bottom line is none of these people should have had to hide. To should have been allowed to lead their lives like any other human being, because that is what they were, human beings. Anne Frank’s story is a chilling reminder though on how truly evil and deplorable the Nazi ideology was.
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