Miep Gies: The courage to resist injustice

Photograph: Steve North/AP

News of the death of Miep Gies reminds us that an ordinary Dutch family summoned extraordinary courage to shield German refugees, the Franks, from the Gestapo.

Until the Nazis invaded Holland, Anne Frank’s family had been able to find work and safety in their adoptive country.

If they had fled to present day Britain, the Franks might be woken at dawn by perhaps a dozen security officers breaking down their door. Given only minutes to pack just a few belongings, they would be forcibly arrested and taken to a secure detention facility, for weeks or months, then, perhaps, returned to the country from which they’d fled. All this without having had access to a lawyer.

Had they resisted boarding a ‘removal flight’ Anne’s parents would have been handcuffed.

Unlike Miep Gies, we don’t have to risk our lives to protect the thousand or more children and babies who, with their traumatised parents, will experience the terror of UK Border Agency raids this year.

We can sign the petition at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/NoChildDetention, write to our MPs, open our eyes to the serious physical and psychological harm caused to children who are already among the most vulnerable members of our community. We can lend them our voices, and protest.

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