Miep Geis Shines
A Small Light is a riveting intensely emotional dramatic telling of the Anne Frank story focused on the moral courage of the Viennese-born Miep Geis who helped hide and support the Frank family and four other Jews in an annex above the offices where Miep worked for Otto Frank.
A Small Light is an eight-episode series. In the beginning, Miep is 24 and living with the Dutch family who adopted when she was a sick child. The family encourages her to marry Cas. The parents are serious. Cas is her nonbiological gay brother. Miep goes in search of employment, which is hard to come by in 1930s Amsterdam, nevertheless, Otto Frank takes a chance on her lack of experience and hires her as a secretary for Opekta, which produces pectin for making jam.
Otto Frank had moved his family to Amsterdam from Germany to escape Hitler’s treatment of the Jews. When the Nazis arrive, Otto Frank, his wife Edith, two daughters Margot and Anne and four others hide above the business.
Miep Geis shines. Her moral compass is guides her by compassionate caring and loyalty. Through the harrowing survival experiences of Miep, her husband Jan, and others in the Dutch resistance, we see the flipped moral foundations of degradation, gross unfairness, and severe loss of liberty. And we rally in support of subversion. In Haidt’s language, Miep and Jan have righteous minds.
A Small Light is not a smarmy salvation project. We see real people struggling against a cold-as-steel evil power, struggling to come to grips with the moral choices of their fellow citizens, struggling to cope with overwhelming stress that threatens to tear the fabric of friends and families, and struggling with worry, anxiety, and self-doubt. Yet in the darkness, a small light shines.
The story of Anne Frank and her family is well-known. We know the tragic ending. Somehow, the actors, writers, and producers keep us emotionally engaged through eight episodes as if we were co-conspirators. I hope it’s not overreaching to say, we have a glimpse of what it means to have a meaningful life.
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl By Anne Frank
English actor Bel Powley shines as Miep Geis and American actor Liev Schreiber is the dignified Otto Frank. English actor Billie Boullet portrayed Anne Frank so well.
The writers were Tony Phelan, Joan Rater, William Harper, and Ben Esler.
The executive producers were Susanna Fogel, Avi Nir, Tony Phelan, Joan Rater, Alon Shtruzman, and Peter Traugott.
The eight-part series appeared on the National Geographic channel in May 2023 and is currently available on Disney+ and Hulu. It’s also available on AMAZON.
Geoffrey W. Sutton, PhD is Emeritus Professor of Psychology. He retired from a clinical practice and was credentialed in clinical neuropsychology and psychopharmacology. His website is www.suttong.com
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