Asteroid named after Anne Frank rescuer

By Jessica Elgot, October 5, 2009
Miep Gies

Miep Gies

An asteroid has been named after the Dutch woman who hid Anne Frank’s family in Amsterdam and preserved her diary during the war.

The International Astronomical Union has named the asteroid Miep Gies, who is the last surviving member of the group who helped the Frank family and their friends hide in a secret apartment for two years.

Mrs Gies retrieved Anne Frank’s diary before the apartment was looted by the Nazis and saved it in her desk drawer for Anne's return.

After Mrs Gies learnt of Anne’s death in Bergen-Belsen, she gave the diary to the sole survivor of the family, Anne’s father Otto. It became an international bestseller.

Mrs Gies, who is now 100 years-old, has received honours for bravery in Israel, Holland and Germany, including the highest German honour, the Federal Cross of Merit First Class.

Her asteroid is between Mars and Jupiter, about seven kilometers wide and was discovered in 1972.

But Mrs Gies is not the first member of the group to be given an extraterrestial namesake. Anne Frank has also had an asteroid named after her.

The asteroid Anne Frank was discovered in March 1942 by Karl Reinmuth and in 1995, on the fiftieth anniversary of armistice, the asteriod was named after Anne.

Her asteroid is smaller than Mrs Gies', it is only three kilometers in diameter.

Last updated: 9:24am, October 6 2009