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A Small Light–In a Very Dark World

A Small Light, a  National Geographic eight-episode miniseries, chronicles the life of a young German woman in her twenties, Miep Gies (Bel Powley).  Sent as a little girl by her mother  to a more safe environment in Amsterdam, unaware that  Amsterdam is on the verge of being overtaken by  Fascism. Miep, emotionally abandoned by her family, begins work for Otto Frank (Liev Schreiber) in his pectin factory, manufacturing the essential ingredient for making jam and jelly.  Soon, however, her boss will be forced to take his family into hiding from the Nazis.  Bravely,   Miep and her husband Jan (Joe Cole), provide housing in an attic annex for the Frank family.  

Small Light recounts the story which allowed Anne Frank’s diary to be discovered and published but most importantly, perhaps, this series reveals how the resistance movement was a crushing and unnerving sacrifice for all involved in fighting the Nazis. While superficially supporting them  for their own survival, the resistance movement had to take extraordinary steps with nerves of steel, grit, and determination to outsmart and outwit a powerful dictatorship:  smuggling Jewish children with hair dyed blonde,  plot to bomb buildings that house information of strategic importance to the Nazis, separation of husbands and wives for their survival. Both Miep and Jan struggle with the constant stress from taking so many risks. Some enemies become wary friends.

The entire cast is electrifying in making the insane a bit sane, but especially Bel Powley as Miep,   the almost unbelievably courageous, in-your-face heroine who gives an emotionally athletic performance.

A Small Light is a highly original movie about the Holocaust, revealing a history of a memorable and brave young woman. Mies Giep’s often quoted observation:  “Even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can, in their own way, turn on a small light in a dark room.” Highly recommend!

Availability:  Disney+ and Hulu

Note:  Otto Frank was the sole survivor in his family and dedicated the rest of his life to the publication of Anna’s diary. He lived with Miep and her husband for two years after VE Day.

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