The National Geographic production A Small Light, in its previous two episodes, had successfully established a strong emphasis on the fate of the Jews in a Nazi-affected Netherlands during World War II. However, certain Dutch families at the time, including Miep and Jan Gies, offered to aid in protecting these Jewish families from Nazi entrapment. Miep and her husband, Jan Gies, were successful in sheltering the German Jewish businessman Otto Frank and his family in a covert annex of Otto Frank’s office premises. As more Jews joined the hideout, Miep found it impossible to continue gathering rations for all of them. They found it difficult to hide the Jews and move around in plain sight in front of the Nazis, but they did their best to make it seem as if nothing happened. Meanwhile, Jan received a proposition from his company to join the resistance movement, which he enthusiastically accepted. But he didn’t tell his wife, Miep, about it. Leaving aside all of their concerns, Jan and Miep planned to spend some time alone when a Nazi officer knocked on their door, carrying two children with him. Frannie, the daughter of Miep’s landlady, and her Jewish husband were arrested by the Nazis; as a result, one of the more compassionate Nazi officers spared Frannie’s children from the impending danger and took them back to their home. Let’s see what the future holds for these children.
What Happened To Frannie’s Children?
Episode 3 begins with Miep and Jan seeking a means to hide Frannie’s children. Miep and Jan teamed up with Frannie’s brother, Max, and began looking for places to conceal them, but transporting those children under heavy Nazi observation became problematic. Jan decided to speak with his boss, who was also working undercover for the resistance. His employer suggested he speak with a guy named Willem Arondeus, who could have devised a way to save those kids. Miep was kept in the dark about Jan’s participation in the resistance, so it was also a secret when he met Willem. Jan encountered Willem at a pub, where Willem heard Jan’s concerns, but instead of providing a solution, he gave him another task to complete. A Jewish family had escaped their apartment, and Jan had been asked to get some important documents from the apartment before the Puls began to clean it out. Jan followed instructions exactly, but instead of any documents, she discovered a baby hidden in a drawer. Jan took the infant and gave it to a stranger who didn’t seem like she was the mother of the child. Perhaps she was another Dutch woman, like Miep, who assisted the Jews in hiding. Jan couldn’t help but notice how dangerous the entire operation was. He confronted Willem, asking him, “What if Jan left the baby there? Willem had no idea who Jan was, yet he blindly trusted him and urged him to do something potentially dangerous, which was something Jan couldn’t ignore. However, Willem assured him that he felt confident that Jan was kind and willing to assist. Willem, in turn, extended his hand to transport Frannie’s children to a safer location.
Miep could relate to those kids who were distant from their parents, just as Miep had grown estranged from her mother on the route from Vienna to Amsterdam. Cas, her brother, had been by her side at the time, lending her much needed support. Therefore, she didn’t want the siblings to grow apart from each other. However, they had to part ways eventually. Taking those kids with them, Jan and Miep reached the given location, where two vehicles arrived to pick them up. A guy and a woman emerged from those cars and stated that they would have to carry each of the siblings differently, which Miep opposed at first. She didn’t want those kids to go through what she had gone through as a child, but she also knew that for both of their safety, they would have to part ways. Miep and Jan said their goodbyes to the children, and the siblings did the same before getting inside the vehicles.
Who Was Tonny Ahlers?
Meanwhile, when Miep went to see the Franks on a regular basis, she saw a guy strolling around the office grounds. His name was Tonny Ahlers, and he was searching for Otto Frank. Miep lied about the Franks having gone to Switzerland, but Tonny didn’t believe her. He kept showing up at the workplace, looking for Otto. Miep told Otto about Tonny, who revealed who Tonny truly was. Even though Tonny claimed to be Frank’s business partner while introducing himself to Miep, Otto revealed that it was blackmail. Once, Otto overshared his aspirations for Nazi defeat with a Nazi collaborator without knowing his identity, which put him in a dangerous situation. Tonny Ahlers, an NSB messenger, intercepted the complaint letter the collaborator delivered to the Nazis against Otto, but since then, Tonny has been threatening him with submitting the letter to the Nazis unless he pays his money. As a result, no one, like Tonny, should have known that the Franks and other Jewish families were residing in Otto’s office building’s hidden annex. Miep grew even more cautious about the types of people she should trust.
With each new episode, A Small Light continues to astound us by portraying the internal torment of both the victims and their rescuers during the war. Through the portrayal of Anne Frank, the series highlights the rebellious youth of the time, which had so much potential to achieve and so many fields in which to flourish but instead spent a considerable portion of their lives disguising themselves. The series is built on fantastic performances, particularly that of Bel Powley as Miep Gies, who appears indispensable in her role. Her persona produces a nostalgic feeling, which is a representation of her character in the context of the 1940s. Despite how sad and painful the series is, it still gives us a sense of comfort, which encourages us to come back to it each week.