A Small Light, National Geographic’s limited series that depicts the Dutch woman who risked her life to shelter Anne Frank’s family from the Nazis, steers clear of pointing any fingers at the person (or people) who betrayed the family.

The project from Grey’s Anatomy alums Joan Rater and Tony Phelan follows Miep Gies (Bel Powley), who agreed to hide her boss Otto Frank (Liev Schreiber) and his family during World War I.

“Miep always said we are never going to know [who betrayed them],” Rater told reporters Friday at the Television Critics Tour. “I’ll read one account and think, they did it, and then I’ll read a separate one and think, they did it. We felt it was important that we don’t answer that question. We don’t skirt it … we posit a person who could have. There were many people who could have [betrayed them].”

Production on the limited series that will stream this spring on Disney+ occurred in Amsterdam and Prague, where Phelan says the production designer was “maniacal” about recreating a near perfect likeness of the annex where eight people — Otto Frank, his wife Edith and daughters Anne and Margot, as well as four others — hid for two years. It was Miep who found Anne’s diary and kept it safe so Otto, the only one of the eight who survived, could later share it with the world.

“Those who hid them were hopeful to the end,” said Rater of Miep, her husband Jan (Joe Cole), and the other helpers. “When you watch the episode when they are finally discovered, they are having a wonderful moment after the Allies landed, a moment they have all been waiting for, and a local fruit guy delivers all these strawberries. They’re in the annex making jam and they believe they are going to be free soon. It’s so infused with hope through the series. Even after they are arrested, Miep refused to give up and would say, ‘we will get them back.’ We play the hope they were living with.”

“This is not the Anne Frank story you were taught in elementary school,” Schreiber added. “For me, it gives you a broader perspective on what it is to be Jewish.”

The limited series is also executive produced and directed by Susanna Fogel (The Flight Attendant). It’s from ABC Signature and Keshet Studios.


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