If you have not seen it yet, this is a must watch: A Small Light. This is the story of Miep Gies, the woman responsible for hiding Anne Frank and her family, the Van Pels and Dr. Pfeffer. The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the most read books about the Holocaust having been translated into 70 different languages. A Small Light is the story from downstairs of the attic.
This eight episode mini-series tells the story not only focusing on the occupants of the attic but more so of those within Amsterdam and the surrounding countryside. National Geographic and Disney do an incredible job not only with historical accuracy but the attention to detail of the larger story.
The story of Anne Frank and her diary has always intrigued me. To live in an attic for two years without ever stepping foot outside, relying totally on the kindness of a few people bringing them food and news of the world, and the human perseverance to survive is awe inspiring. A Small Light presents us with Miep’s story and many who, throughout Amsterdam, risked their lives in order to protect and defend those of the Jewish community. Woven throughout the series is a sense of hope rather than despair.
We are easily disturbed by the enormity of human loss, suffering, and destruction during the Holocaust as we should be; eleven million people, six million+ Jews were killed by the Nazis and compliant individuals. Yet there are many stories of human survival and respect for human life and dignity that give us hope.
One of my favorite quotes from Anne Frank is this: “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Usually, we stop there, however, the rest of the quote is also important: “I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”
Just as there were those who stood up and took action to defend the persecuted during the Holocaust, so too can we be inspired today to stand up for the oppressed and mistreated. We too see a wilderness in our world in which it seems there is a retreat rather than progress in regards to human care and compassion. Peace and tranquility will not come about just because; we have to pursue peace, we have to pursue justice, we have to pursue the fulfillment of every person being treated with respect, kindness and equality regardless of race, gender, religion, or identity. As the Jewish community, we know what it means to be persecuted, and therefore, as the Jewish community we are that much more compelled to fight for this pursuit of justice and equality for all people. If we do not pursue these values, then history has the power to repeat itself and we cannot afford to let that happen again to us or any people.
A Small Light is a message of hope and a call to action. Please, take the time to watch this powerful series and let me know your thoughts.