Review: A Small Light


Maroon Staff

“A Small Light” covers the story of Anne Frank from a different perspective.

Ava Schnipper

Earlier this month, National Geographic released a television series highlighting the story of Anne Frank’s family. (For those who do not know, the Franks were a Jewish family who lived in Amsterdam and went into hiding during the Holocaust to avoid getting arrested and sent to a concentration camp). Anne Frank was a teenager when she and her family went into hiding. She spent her time writing about her thoughts and experiences, and when she died, her father discovered her diary and published it so that the world could read about the struggles that people faced during this time on a more personal level.

Though many think of the Franks’ story from Anne’s perspective, the new show, “A Small Light,” takes place from the perspective of Miep Gies, a friend and secretary to Otto Frank who helped hide them. As the show progresses, the viewer begins to see how Gies and her husband, Jan Gies, made countless sacrifices to help Jews and other people who were a target of the Nazis find a place to live or escape. 

Not only does the show highlight what Gies, her husband, and friends did to help Jews, but it also shows the way that the society in Europe shifted because of the war that was going on. For example, it would be reported if someone bought a substantial amount of food, because that might indicate that they were hiding Jews. In addition, there were some businesses that would confidentially take Jews to a hiding place, and they would help people by having a code, or some other secret message that Jews could deliver in order to ask for help. Additionally, Jewish men were forced to wear suits that had a Star of David on them that said “Jew,” so that people could distinguish between them in a crowd. Finally, Jews would sometimes be attacked in public for going somewhere that was not in a Jewish neighborhood, and they were given a curfew simply for being Jewish.

Another reason why the show is so special is that it emphasizes the fact that ordinary people went to extraordinary lengths to help others. “A Small Light” demonstrates selflessness, and it does so in such a way that is humorous, emotional, and relatable. As the real-life Miep Gies said, “No one should ever think you have to be special to help others. Even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can, in their own way, turn on a small light in a dark room.”