Miep Gies, the Dutch woman who helped Anne Frank and her family hide from Nazis during the Second World War and saved the teenager's famous diary, has died at age 100.
Gies died from a neck injury sustained in a fall at her home shortly before Christmas, the Anne Frank House museum announced late Monday.
She was a longtime friend of the Frank family and was the last of the few non-Jews who supplied food, books and good cheer to the secret annex behind the canal warehouse in the Netherlands where the Franks and four other Jews hid from June 12, 1942, until Aug. 1, 1944.
"Every day for over two years she put herself in danger by hiding Jews from the Nazis," said Anne Frank's cousin, Bernd (Buddy) Elias, who last saw Gies on her 100th birthday. "If they had caught her, she would have been put in a concentration camp herself."
German secret police were eventually tipped off and raided the apartment, taking the Frank family to concentration camps.
Gies gathered up Anne Frank's notebooks and papers and locked them away in a drawer for her return.
'Incriminated' by diary
She refused to read the papers, saying even a teenager's privacy was sacred. Gies later said if she had read them she would have had to burn them because they incriminated the "helpers."
Frank never made it back to collect her diary. She died of typhus at age 15 while in a German concentration camp in March 1945, just two weeks before the camp was liberated.
Gies gave the girl's diary to her father, Otto, the only family member to survive the camps. He arranged to have the diaries published in 1947.
The Diary of Anne Frank became the first popular book about the Holocaust and has been read by millions of children and adults around the world in 70 languages.
After the diary was made available, Gies tirelessly promoted causes of tolerance. She brushed aside the accolades for helping hide the Frank family as more than she deserved — as if, she said, she had tried to save all the Jews of occupied Holland.
"This is very unfair. So many others have done the same or even far more dangerous work," she wrote in an email to The Associated Press days before her 100th birthday in February.
For her courage, an Israeli Holocaust museum honoured Gies. The German government and the Dutch monarchy have also paid tribute to her.
Her death removed one of the last living direct links to Anne Frank, with only Elias and a few of her childhood friends still alive.
An online registry quickly recorded hundreds of condolences from around the world.