Jan Gies, along with his wife, Miep (aka Hermine Santrouschitz), was a member of the Dutch resistance during WW II. He helped Otto Frank and Miep to execute a plan that enabled the Franks, the van Pels family and Dr. Fritz Pfeffer to stay hidden from the Nazis for a little over 2 years time.
Jan Gies was born in the Netherlands in 1905, living in the south side of Amsterdam. He worked for a textile company as a young adult, and here he met Hermine "Miep" Santrouschitz, whom he befriended, courted. He married Miep on 16 July 1941, with Otto and Edith Frank in attendance.
The Franks had helped Jan and Miep find a home so they could start new lives as a married couple, and after his wife Miep started working at Otto Franks' Opekta company ( a company that made gelling agents for jams and jellies), Jan and Miep Gies would return the favor by helping the Franks find a hiding place after Otto Frank's oldest daughter, Margot, was called up for labor service.
Jan participated actively in the Dutch resistance starting in 1943. In addition to aiding in the harboring of the Franks and the other persons in the secret annex at Miep's workplace, Jan and Miep also took in a Dutch student who refused to take the German oath of allegiance.
Jan also reported daily, sharing the latest news, bringing up such things as cigars and books and obtaining rationing coupons for the hiders. Furthermore, Otto Frank's Opekta company was renamed for Jan Gies in part, to create a cover up that would allow the Franks, van Pels family and Dr. Pfeffer to continue in hiding. Jan, along with Miep, helped to hide children whose parents had been caught in hiding.
After the war ended, Jan continued, along with Miep, to participate actively in the life of Otto Frank, who was the lone survivor of the hiders in the secret annex.
Jan and Miep Gies had a son, Paul, in 1950. After the war ended and for years afterward, they gave lectures about Anne Frank and resisting fascism.
Jan Gies, along with his wife, Hermine "Miep" (Santrouschitz) Gies, were named amongst the "Righteous of the Nations" by Yad Vashem.
Far less seems known about Jan Gies than his wife, Miep. Nonetheless, Jan, like his wife Miep, proved to the world what to seemingly ordinary people can do in extraordinary circumstances to help those in dire need, even in the face of life and death.
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