An inspiring, real-life story about a couple who had a pivotal role in helping Anne Frank hide from the Nazis has received a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Dutch couple Miep and Jan Gies helped the young German diarist and her Jewish family hide during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam.
Now, their story has been re-told as a National Geographic Disney+ limited series starring British actors Bel Powley andJoe Cole as Miep and Jan Gies.
While Anne Frank’s tragic story is world famous, epitomising the terror of Hitler’s genocidal regime, less is known about the experience of the heroic Gies while they risked their own lives by hiding the Franks.
The eight-episode series titled A Small Light, tells Anne Frank’s story from ‘the other side of the bookcase’.
The synopsis, as per Disney+, reads: ‘While millions are familiar with Anne Frank’s diary and her family’s life in the Secret Annex, A Small Light is the lesser-known story’
While the world has been told of the Franks’ lives in the Amsterdam attic, this is the first time dramatisation of what the ordeal was like for Miep and Jan Gies who secretly housed them
Filmed on location in Amsterdam and Prague, the series – created by Joan Rater and Tony Phelan – has already achieved a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
The synopsis, as per Disney+, reads: ‘Based on a true story, A Small Light follows Miep Gies, a young, carefree secretrary who hid Otto Frank and his family from the Nazis in WWII.
‘For nearly two years, Miep and her husband Jan protected the Franks and others while she held down a day job, kept her marriage intact and shouldered more responsibility than anyone could imagine.
‘While millions are familiar with Anne Frank’s diary and her family’s life in the Secret Annex, A Small Light is the lesser-known story of how an ordinary secretary showed extraordinary courage during one of the darkest moments in history.’
Anne had to go into hiding with her parents and sister when the Nazi anti-Jewish measures in the Netherlands made it too dangerous to stay in their own home.
Though her writings survived, Anne Fank died of typhus fever at the age of 15. Though Anne had never intended for her diary to be published, she did write in her diary that she planned to write a book about her experiences
Jan Gies and Miep Gies in Amsterdam, the couple helped Anne Frank and her family during their years in hiding in Amsterdam during the Second World War
And, thanks to the help of Miep Gies – known as the woman who saved Anne Frank’s world famous diary – the Frank family went into hiding in the annex of a building at Prinsengracht 263, Amsterdam.
In addition to provisioning the ‘Secret Annex’ for more than two years, Miep and Jan Gies hid another Jew in their own apartment.
The family lived there, mainly on the second and third floor. The only way to enter the hiding place was through the secret entrance.
The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Thanks to the help of Miep Gies on 6 July 1942, the Frank family went into hiding in annex of a building at Prinsengracht 263
Staircase in the rear of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The only way to enter the hiding place was through the secret entrance
The attic of the Anne Frank House. Anne had to go into hiding with her parents and sister, as the Nazi anti-Jewish measures in the Netherlands made it too dangerous for them to stay in their own home
The Frank family at the Merwedeplein in Amsterdam, 1941. The Franks’ Amsterdam hiding place was raided by the Nazis and Dutch police in 1944
Circa 1940: Nazi troops and armoured divisions driving along a main street in Amsterdam, on a route from Central Station past the Queen’s Palace
But on August 4, 1944, the Franks’ Amsterdam hiding place was raided by the Nazis and Dutch police. Of the eight Jews in hiding, only Otto Frank returned from the Holocaust.
Shortly after Anne’s father returned to Amsterdam from Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Gies presented him with a stack of his daughter’s writings – including her diary and short stories.
Though Anne had never intended for her diary to be published, she did write in her diary that she planned to write a book about her experiences.
And while her writings survived, Anne died of typhus fever at the age of 15.
Filmed on location in Amsterdam and Prague, the Disney+ series – created by Joan Rater and Tony Phelan – has already achieved a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
This is despite the first episode only being released at the start of the month, on May 1.
It also received a score of 8.2/10 on imdb.
Viewers have flocked to social media to praised the creators and directors for the well-written and informative series.
The first episode was only released at the start of the month, on May 1
Disney+ shared their thoughts on A Small Light, as they praised the creators for the ‘fantastic’ and ‘well made’ miniseries
One user wrote on Twitter: ‘Nat Geo/Disney/Hulu show A small Light is such a beautiful told story. I mean we know the ending but I’m still *crying emoji*.’
Another person said: ‘A Small Light, the Miep Gies story on Disney is so good everyone should watch. So interesting to see the Anne Frank story from a different perspective outside of the annex.’
And a third wrote: ‘Highly recommend A Small Light on Disney about Miep Gies and others who helped Otto Frank and his family including of course Anne Frank.’
One more person put: ‘A small light on Disney plus is sooo good!!!’
While another said: ”This show is fantastic!’
And a sixth Twitter user commented: ”A small light’… series on Disney+ So very well made, it kicks hard in the feels!’
A Small Light is available to watch on Disney+, National Geographic, Hulu and ESPN+.