‘A Small Light’ Episodes 1 And 2 Recap And Ending, Explained: What Happened To Doctor Pfeffer? 

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Miep Gies never considered her contribution exceptional; she believed she only did what was expected of a human being. But not everyone’s name is written in history, and the courage demonstrated by the Dutch national was extraordinary. “A small light” introduces us to the fun-loving Miep, who was desperately in search of a job. She was born an Austrian but was adopted by her Dutch family when she was 10. Her family never made her feel out of place, except that they expected her to marry her brother, Casmir. Casmir was not ready to come out of the closet, and the next best option was for Miep to get a job. Casmir spoke to a lady who sold jam and arranged an interview for Miep at the jam company. That was when she met Otto Frank, a fairly reserved business owner who was not ready to consider an inexperienced Miep for the secretarial position. But it was Miep’s honesty and desperation for the position that made him reconsider. Miep gradually developed a fond relationship with the Frank family, and the fact that she could speak German was an added bonus.

Spoilers Alert


Miep Gies And Jan Gies

Miep met Jan at a local bar right after she landed her first job. Jan was busy reading a book amidst the chaos. He was different, and Miep felt an instant attraction towards him. She approached him, and they had a drink together, but their conversation was limited to Kafka and Metamorphosis. Bored to her wits, Miep decided to bail on him. A few days after, Miep knocked on Mrs. Vandenberg’s door and was surprised to be greeted by Jan; she was looking for kittens to gift Margot and Anne and was not expecting to confront the man she ditched at the bar. It was their chance encounter that helped them reintroduce themselves. Jan admitted that he was so taken aback by Miep’s beauty that he struggled to find words during their first meeting. After a stroll, the two kissed and thus began their romance.

Even though Miep’s family approved of Jan, it was important for her to impress the Frank family. They intended not to discuss Hitler, but the fear of the Nazis invading the Netherlands made it impossible to avoid the subject. Miep was confident that the Nazis would be forced to respect the Netherlands’ neutral stance. On May 15, 1940, when the Nazis marched the streets of Amsterdam, Miep was distressed thinking about the outcome. When Otto Frank asked for her assistance to implement their hiding plan, she readily agreed. Miep was ready to risk her life and keep the entire operation a secret from her husband if necessary. Jan was quite disappointed to find out that Miep did not care to discuss the situation with him.

After being separated from her mother at a young age, Miep never allowed anyone into her thoughts. Jan was aware of how Miep always preferred fighting her fights alone, but since he was her husband, he hoped to become the person she could trust enough to share her secrets with. Jan helped Miep relocate the Frank family to their hideout. He was always interested in being the change, and that was the reason why he started working as a social worker. When the Franks and the Van Pels were having trouble getting rations, he illegally snuck out a few cards from his office to help them. Jan was as dedicated to the cause as Miep, and he did not mind risking his life to get a few more extra ration cards from a bookstore that secretly resisted the occupiers. Unlike the silent spectators, Miep and Jan, with their little resources, dedicated themselves to the cause. They could not imagine living their lives as usual after witnessing the inhumane brutality.


The Frank Family

Otto Frank had applied for a visa to travel to America with his family, fearing the worst, but his application was rejected. With the Nazis at their doorstep, Otto Frank knew that he had to find an alternative to protect his family. He had built a secret chamber in his office to hide if the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. When Margot received the work camp letter, the family decided it was time for them to move into their hideout. Since Margot was supposed to be taken away by the Nazis, it was important to shift her sooner than the rest. Miep, with sheer determination and confidence, managed to move Margot past a checkpoint without any ID. Even though Margot was afraid and was nearly in tears, Miep instilled confidence in her to get over the hurdle. Once Margot was safely transferred, the family eventually shifted to the hideout. Anne Frank was initially quite disheartened that she was not allowed to bring her pet kitten with her, but she eventually got back to her chirpy self. Margot suffered from an existential crisis, while Edith advised Miep on ways to get the best produce. Meanwhile, Otto Frank managed the entire business from the hideout. He was the brains working in the shadows while his employees physically managed the business. It became known that the Frank family had fled to Switzerland. Even though Otto Frank always tried to stay calm, there were days when he felt overwhelmed with frustration.


 What Happened To Doctor Pfeffer? 

With her growing anxiety, Miep had developed a tendency to grind her teeth, and she visited Doctor Pfeffer to get some relief. Doctor Pfeffer was Jewish, and he was introduced to Miep by Otto Frank. As a Jew, he feared for his life and constantly inquired about the Frank family. Miep initially did not share any details with him, but she gradually started to sympathize with his situation. One day, when he asked her for help, she struggled to deny him. Otto Frank was a Jewish man married to a Christian woman. He initially believed that he would be spared, but it became evident that there was no mercy for the Jews. When Miep discussed Doctor Pfeffer’s situation, Otto Frank refused to allow him into the hideout. There was barely any space left, and the ration was quite limited. But after thinking about it for a day, he asked Miep to bring him over. He feared losing his identity in the hideout, and he refused to become a man who was afraid of helping his friend in need. Miep visited Doctor Pfeffer and brought him along to the hideout. He was ultimately reunited with his friends.


 ‘A Small Light’ Episode 2 Ending Explained: Why Did Jan Lie About His Job?

Jan was asked to meet his boss, and he was confident that he would be questioned about the lapse in his client report. He decided that he would quit if necessary. Just as expected, his boss questioned him about the extra ration cards that he asked for. Jan explained that he did what he believed was the right thing to do. Surprisingly, his boss had the same opinion. He added that there were a few employees who worked against the occupiers in secrecy, and they wanted Jan to join them in their efforts. The meeting had taken a far more interesting turn than Jan had expected, and he agreed to the offer. He was asked not to tell anyone about his involvement with the resistance. When Miep asked him about his office meeting, Jan lied to her. Miep had already placed herself in a lot of danger, and Jan was not ready to risk her life anymore.

Episode 2 of “A Small Light” ends with an unexpected knock at the door. Mrs. Stoppelman’s daughter Frannie and her husband, Lou, decided to take their chance to get on a train and return home to Leiden. It was a risky move made out of desperation. When Jan opened the door, he was greeted by a Nazi soldier. The soldier felt pity for Alfred and Liddy, who were accompanying their parents to the train station. While Frannie and Lou were taken away to the camps, the soldiers returned their children home to Jan and Miep. “A small light” emphasizes how the situation had gone beyond the expectations of even the foot soldiers. The ones who were in favor of Hitler’s decision were frightened to see the horror that was unleashed upon the Jews. Miep and Jan were no longer ordinary citizens; they were bravely fighting against the occupiers in the shadows.


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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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