A Small Light for Our Time

In Educator Toolkit, Holocaust, Holocaust Education Advocacy, Home, Uncategorized by Judy LaPietraLeave a Comment


The enduring story of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who kept a diary while in hiding with her family in German occupied Amsterdam during WWII, is perhaps one of the most recognized narratives of the Holocaust. Since its publication in 1947, her words have provided us with a powerful account of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable adversity. As an introduction into Holocaust education, educators have relied on the words of this young teenage diarist to not only provide students with an initial historical account, but to engage them in the broader themes of human rights and tolerance. With the premiere of National Geographic’s, A Small Light, we are provided with yet a new perspective on the story of Anne Frank.

Although her story is intertwined with Anne’s, the story of Miep Gies, the young secretary who worked for Otto Frank and who ultimately helped hide the Franks from the Nazi’s, is one that has never been at the center of this narrative. However, Miep Gies was integral to sustaining the Frank’s in hiding for an incredible two years during the war. A Small Light centralizes the story of Miep and the few others who risked their lives to hide and protect the Frank family and their friends in the attic in which they were hid.  In doing so, it illuminates the power of an everyday individual to do what is right in a world of chaos and inhumanity. We cannot help but be inspired by Miep’s portrait of courage and resistance, risking her life repeatedly because it was simply the right thing to do. While her actions could not ultimately save Anne, it is thanks to Miep that we have Anne’s diary as an enduring legacy to the past and an inspiration for the present.

In subsequent years Miep herself famously stated that “even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can, in their own way, turn on a small light in a dark room.” We can only hope that this powerful message so beautifully portrayed in A Small Light can endure in our own time as we glimpse echoes of past.

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