‘A Small Light’ Episode 3 And 4 Recap & Ending Explained: What Did The Butterfly Necklace Symbolize?


The second episode of “A Small Light” ended with an SS soldier returning Alfred and Liddy home from the train station. Their parents, Frannie and Lou, were transported to a Nazi camp. Max had warned Frannie about the dangers she could face if she decided to travel to Leiden, but it did not stop the couple. While it was a relief that the kids were unharmed, Max knew that he could not keep them safe at his mother’s place for long. If Miep had the choice, she would have taken the children to the hideout in a heartbeat, but doing so risked the lives of others. Jan, too, could not take his mind off it and decided to seek help from Bram. Jan’s primary responsibility as a member of the resistance involved stealing as many ration cards as possible without getting caught, of course. He found out that he was quite a natural when it came to the task assigned, and Bram was happy with his contribution.

Spoilers Alert

How Did Miep And Jan Help Alfred And Liddy? 

Jan entered an underground gay bar to find the man Bram suggested could help hide the kids. Willem Arondeus was initially reluctant to help Jan; he had a problem at hand, and he asked Jan to meet him another day. But within a few seconds, he decided against it and asked for Jan’s help. He asked Jan to retrieve an important document that was left in a drawer of an apartment and hand it over to a woman he would find at Beatrix Park. Even though this was not how Jan predicted his day would go, he realized that only by helping them could he save the lives of Alfred and Liddy. He entered the apartment using his social worker credentials and was shocked to find a baby hidden inside the drawer. Smuggling a baby out of an apartment with the Nazis swarming the place was quite an impossible challenge, but Jan decided to give it a go. He carried the baby in his arms and pretended to be a hopeless new father running errands. He was quite convincing, and the Nazi army man allowed him to leave. He waited with the baby at the park, and a woman came along with a stroller and pretended to be Jan’s wife. Jan handed the baby over and managed to pull off the task. This incident in “A Small Light” highlights how helpless the parents must have been to leave their baby in a drawer. They had no other option but to trust the resistance to rescue their child. Leaving the baby meant losing them forever, but the hope of a safe future made the untimely separation worth it. At a time when people were becoming more and more inhumane, there were those who risked all that they had to stand by their values and beliefs.

In exchange for his help, Willem handed Jan the address of a student at the University of Amsterdam who was working with a group to hide Jewish children with families in the countryside. Miep was relieved when Jan shared the news with her, but Mrs. Stoppelman was not ready to part with her grandchildren. Max helped her understand that Jan’s solution was the only option they had. Miep dyed Alfred and Liddy’s hair blond to avoid any suspicion. Miep was constantly reminded of the time when she was forced to leave her mother. She had boarded a train all alone and traveled to Amsterdam without knowing the language or the people she ended up spending her life with. She was scared, just like Liddy, but the frightening journey turned out to be rewarding for her. She instilled courage in Liddy by discussing her experience. Liddy idolized Miep, and she was swayed by the possibility of a bright future.

The students came to receive Alfred and Liddy, but Miep was not ready to let them go once she got to know that they would be handed over to separate families. Jan convinced Miep to let go of the children since that was the only option they had. After an emotional goodbye in episode 3 of “A Small Light,” Alfred and Liddy went their separate ways, looking forward to an uncertain yet hopeful future.

Who Was Tony Ahlers?

Tonny Ahlers was adamant about meeting Otto Frank, and he refused to give up on finding him. Even after being told that the Frank family had moved to Switzerland without giving their address, Tonny was hellbent on finding clues. While he did not disclose much about his meeting with Otto Frank, he simply implied that the meeting was far too important. Initially, Otto Frank asked Miep to ignore Tonny, but gradually he became too big a problem to be ignored. Tonny turned out to be a member of the Dutch Nazi Party, and he was persistent about meeting Otto Frank. Miep tried to find out about his business with Otto, but he always ignored the question. To scare the employees into submitting, Tonny noted down their names.

When Miep met Mr. Frank, she requested him to disclose about his business with Tonny Ahlers. Over a glass of drink that he managed to sneak into the hideout, Otto Frank discussed his history with Tonny. He was at a trade show when he incautiously discussed the war. He told one of his suppliers that the war would end soon and that it would not end well for the Nazis. The supplier turned out to be a collaborator, and he wrote a letter to the Nazi Party informing them about the statement Mr. Frank made. Tonny Ahlers blocked the letter and decided to make a profit out of it. He blackmailed Otto Frank to extort money from him in return for keeping his secrets safe from the Nazis. Mr. Frank blamed himself for not being careful, but for Miep, he was the ideal family man, and she reminded him of the sacrifices he made to provide for his family. Just before Christmas, the office was ransacked, and money was stolen. Luckily, the thieves did not break into the hideout; Otto Frank admitted that the hideout was at risk. While the thieves had only stolen money, they could have done far worse if they had intended to. To make the place more secure, a bookshelf was constructed to conceal the door that led to the hideout.

Was Daniel A Nazi? What Did The Butterfly Necklace Symbolize?

Miep followed Jan one morning when he said he would be visiting his brother. He always left early and returned home late from work, making Miep suspicious. After following him, she realized that he had lied to her and went to church instead. Miep was a socialist and had grown up in a socialist family; therefore, her husband lying to her and visiting the church was quite the deal breaker. She immediately reached out to Tess for comfort. While Miep was completely shattered thinking about the secrets her husband kept from her, Tess could not help but laugh at her exaggeration. Tess believed that they were all going through a tough time, and Jan searching for some positivity at a church was not the worst thing that could have happened to Miep. Tess was glad to have her friend back. Miep had mostly been away, and she missed the way they could spend hours together. She often felt judged by Miep for not being as hardworking as her. Tess’s mother was suffering from cancer, and she was quite lonely, especially with Miep being busy most of the time. To pay an ode to the good old times, Tess proposed to organize an ice-skating party just like the one they attended when they were in school. Tess decided to host the party at Daniel’s parents’ house, and she planned to create an ice-skating rink in the courtyard. While Miep joked about the grandness of it, she agreed that a party was needed to get over the feeling of complete hopelessness. Tess later gifted Miep a butterfly necklace; she believed that Miep had truly metamorphosed into an elegant butterfly over the years. The gold and sapphire necklace was too precious for Miep to accept. She decided to wear it for as many days as she could before pawning it to help her cause.

Miep was often reminded of her privileges when she visited the hideout. The fact that she could decide to enjoy and spend her Christmas Eve at a lavish party was nothing short of a dream for Jewish women. The women in the hideout were fascinated by the stories of the outside world that Miep brought to them. The possibility of people gathering and enjoying an evening in their best clothes made them happy. While they could not prepare a grand Hanukkah dinner, they were excited to dress Miep for her party. Edith adorned Miep with her gorgeous gown and Mrs. Van Pel’s plush cape. While they were trapped in the attic, they wanted their clothes to breathe the fresh air and live the life that they were denied.

After the church incident, Miep and Jan’s relationship was not at its best. Even though Jan was not interested in the celebration, he decided to accompany Miep. After entering the party, Miep realized that none of her school friends were invited. After falling in love with Daniel, Tess had a new set of friends, and Miep barely knew any of them. She stepped out of the mansion to skate to her heart’s content, but she was soon interrupted by Jan. He informed her that Daniel and his friends were NSB members and that the party was swarming with Nazis. Miep confronted Tess about her boyfriend’s allegiance. While Tess and Daniel explained that they had Nazi friends because of his business, that was not an explanation that Miep could live with. Miep was brimming with anger, and Jan apologized for her behavior. He could not risk their operation by offending the Nazis. He later confided in Miep about the truth behind his absence. While he did not reveal the details of it, he reassured her that he was still the man she fell in love with. Later, the two went to the hideout to celebrate Hanukkah. Miep presented them with the food she stole from the party, and Jan pulled out the champagne he had kept hidden in his coat. Doctor Pfeffer finally decided to share the food basket gifted to him by his wife with the rest. The Hanukkah party that they assumed would be bleak turned into a jolly affair.

Otto Frank took Miep aside and asked her about the butterfly necklace. He was worried that the friend who gifted the necklace was a Nazi. He explained that one such necklace belonged to his mother’s friend; they were designed to look like a butterfly necklace, but when they were clasped together, they formed the star of David. Such necklaces were made during the Inquisition period, when Jews were forced to convert to Christianity, and the ones who rebelled were killed. The necklace was their secret way of staying true to their faith when it was threatened. He concluded that the necklace was stolen from a Jewish woman, and Miep’s friend surely knew where it came from. Miep waited for Tess to return home and confronted her once again. She was disgusted by the woman Tess had become, but she secretly hoped that she could help her friend find the right path. Tess was not ready to be shamed by Miep, and she believed her boyfriend did what he had to to survive. Since Daniel was her only constant, she was not ready to part with him, even if that meant siding with the Nazis. “A Small Light” showcases how the war separated the best friends as a result of their contradictory ideologies. While Miep believed in giving it all to fight the Nazis, Tess wanted to protect her idea of happiness. She was not ready to face reality, and while the world was crumbling around her, she held on to the past and celebrated life. Tess lived in denial, and even when Miep forced her to face the truth, she chose to hide from it.

“A Small Light” Episode 4 ends with Jan expressing his need to do more than just hide people. He discussed with Willem how frustrating it was to hide his allegiance. Willem offered Jan the chance to do more. He showed him the weapons and grenades he had kept hidden at the back of the club. He wanted to start a fire, and it seemed Jan was on board with his plan. The series is based on real events, but some events are fictionalized, and since Jan’s level of involvement in the resistance is unclear, the creators are taking the liberty to reimagine his contribution to fighting the Nazis.

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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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