An inspiring true story about a couple who played a pivotal role in helping Anne Frank hide from the Nazis has received a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Dutch couple Miep and Jan Gies helped the young German diarist and her Jewish family go into hiding during the German occupation of Amsterdam.
Now their story has been retold as a National Geographic Disney+ limited series starring British actors Bel Powley and Joe Cole as Miep and Jan Gies.
While the tragic story of Anne Frank is world famous and epitomizes the terror of Hitler’s genocidal regime, less is known about the heroic Gies’ experience as they risked their own lives hiding the Franks.
The eight-episode series, titled A Small Light, tells the story of Anne Frank from ‘the other side of the bookcase’.
According to Disney+, the synopsis 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 about the life of the Franks in the Amsterdam attic, this is the first time to dramatize 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 reached 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
The synopsis, according to Disney+, reads: “Based on a true story, A Small Light follows Miep Gies, a young, carefree secretary who hid Otto Frank and his family from the Nazis during World War II.
For nearly two years, Miep and her husband Jan protected the Franks and others while she held down a job, kept her marriage intact, and took on more responsibility than anyone could imagine.
‘Although millions are familiar with Anne Frank’s diary and the life of her family in the Secret Annex, A Small Light is the lesser-known story of how an ordinary secretary showed extraordinary courage during one of history’s darkest moments.’
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.
Although her writings survived, Anne Fank died of typhus at the age of 15. Although Anne had never intended to publish her diary, she wrote in her diary that she intended 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 World War II
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 secret annex of a building at 263 Prinsengracht, Amsterdam.
In addition to supplying the Secret Annex for more than two years, Miep and Jan Gies hid another Jew in their own apartment.
The family lived there, mostly on the second and third floors. The only way to enter the hideout was through the secret entrance.
The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Thanks to the help of Miep Gies, the Frank family went into hiding on 6 July 1942 in an annex at Prinsengracht 263
Stairs at the rear of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The only way to enter the hideout was through the secret entrance
The attic of the Anne Frank House. Anne had to go into hiding with her parents and sister because the Nazi anti-Jewish measures in the Netherlands made it too dangerous for them to stay in their own home
The Frank family on the Merwedeplein in Amsterdam, 1941. The hiding place of the Franks in Amsterdam was raided in 1944 by the Nazis and the Dutch police
Circa 1940: Nazi troops and armored divisions drive down a main street in Amsterdam, on a route from Central Station past the Royal Palace
But on August 4, 1944, the Amsterdam hiding place of the Franks was raided by the Nazis and the 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.
Although Anne never intended her diary to appear, she did write in her diary that she intended to write a book about her experiences.
And while her writings survived, Anne died of typhus at the age of 15.
Filmed on location in Amsterdam and Prague, the Disney+ series – created by Joan Rater and Tony Phelan – has already earned a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
This despite the fact that the first episode will only be released at the beginning of the month, on May 1.
It also received a score of 8.2/10 on imdb.
Viewers have taken to social media to praise the creators and directors for the well-written and informative series.
The first episode only came out at the beginning of the month, on May 1
Disney+ shared their thoughts on A Small Light, praising the creators for the ‘fantastic’ and ‘well-crafted’ miniseries
One user wrote on Twitter, “Nat Geo/Disney/Hulu show A small Light is such a beautifully told story. I mean, we know the ending, but I’m still *crying emoji*.”
Another person said, ‘A Small Light, Miep Gies’ story on Disney is so good everyone should see it. So interesting to see the Anne Frank story from a different perspective outside the Secret Annex.’
And a third wrote: ‘Highly recommended for A Small Light on Disney about Miep Gies and others who helped Otto Frank and his family, including of course Anne Frank.’
Another person said, “A little light on Disney plus is sooo good!!!”
While another said: ‘This show is fantastic!’
And a sixth Twitter user commented: ”A little light’…series on Disney+ So well made, it feels hard!’
A Small Light is available to watch on Disney+, National Geographic, Hulu, and ESPN+.