A new documentary series about the story of Anne Frank is coming to Disney +. A Small Light will tell the story of the people who managed to keep the Frank family hidden away for more than two years, as well as preserve Anne’s diary. This news comes from Deadline.
A Small Light tells the story of Miep Gies, whose story is chronicled at AnneFrank.org. Gies was initially an employee under father Otto Frank, who had just moved his company from Germany to the Netherlands to hopefully escape Nazi persecution. Gies soon became close with the Frank family, her fluency in both Dutch and German helped the Franks assimilate into Dutch society, she and her fiancé Jan were both frequent guests in the Franks’ home. When Nazi influence spread to their town, the couple were quick to hide the Frank family in the upstairs rooms of their house.
Along with the Franks were the Van Pels family and dentist Fritz Pfeffer, the occupants would come to be known as the Secret Annex. For two years the couple kept the occupants hidden away, gathering groceries from several locations to not raise suspicions, and delivering letters. However, on August 4th of 1944, they had been caught and the Secret Annex had all been deported. Before the hiding places were stripped by the Nazi authorities, Gies took Anne Frank’s diaries and saved them in her desk drawer. She was determined to return them to Anne. After the war, she gave them to the sole survivor of the Secret Annex, Otto Frank. Otto would later publish them into the book that is still shared around the world.
A Small Light comes from Joan Rater and Tony Phelan (Grey’s Anatomy) as executive producers, Susanna Fogel (The Flight Attendant), and National Geographic. The seven-episode project was already on its way to being greenlit when last month’s 60 Minutes covered a report on a years-long investigation. The report revealed a suspect in the almost 80-year mystery of who betrayed the Franks. The revelation reportedly had no impact on the upcoming series as it has no effect on the story the limited series planned to tell.
A Small Light Is About The Silent Heroes
Since the war, Gies has been the subject of numerous awards, including being knighted in the Order of Orange-Nassau by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. In 1987, in collaboration with Alison Leslie Gold, Gies wrote and published the book Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family. In 1995, she was interviewed for the documentary film Anne Frank Remembered. The film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The award was jointly collected by director Jon Blair and Gies. Despite the attention, Gies never saw herself as a grand hero. It was this quote from late in her life that inspired the title for the series. She passed away in 2010, a month before her 101st birthday, after suffering injuries from a fall.
“I do not like being called a hero because no one should ever think you have to be special to help others. Even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can turn on a small light in a dark room. ”
Fogel will direct multiple episodes of A Small Light. Along with producing, Rater and Phelan are credited with writing the series. The series also comes from ABC Signature in partnership with Keshet Studios. Keshet Studios’ Peter Traugott, Alon Shtruzman and Avi Nir will also be producing. Casting for the three main characters, Miep, Otto and Jan, is currently underway. Filming is scheduled to begin in Europe later this year. This will be the second Nat Geo scripted series for Disney +, the first being The Right Stuff.
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