When we learned about history back in school, the stories sometimes felt a little too distant to grasp. From black-and-white videos and dense textbooks to dry documentaries, the lessons could often feel tedious, almost ideal to fall asleep to. In A Small Light, however, National Geographic‘s brand-new show, showrunners Tony Phelan and Joan Rater wanted to show an unsung hero during WWII in a whole new light.
A Small Light tells the story Miep Gies (Bel Powley), an opinionated and bubbly young woman who put her life on the line to save a Jewish family in WWII. In fact, the family she helps rescue was none other than the Frank family, which included Otto Frank (Liev Schreiber), Edith Frank (Amira Casar), Margot Frank (Ashley Brooke) and, of course, 13-year-old Anne Frank (Billie Boullet).
“Told with a modern sensibility, A Small Light shakes the cobwebs off history and makes Miep’s story more relevant than ever, forcing audiences to ask themselves what they would have done in Miep’s shoes; and in modern times, asking if they would have the courage to stand up to hatred,” the show’s official description reads.
In a new clip of the show’s first episode, shared exclusively by SheKnows, Miep joins her family at the dining room table. Quickly, however, their conversation turns into an interrogation. “Mom, don’t look so worried, it’s fine, I’m gonna get a job,” Miep says.
“When? What steps have you taken?” her dad asks. “The economy is bad, you know that. Jobs are hard to come by,” Miep replies. “You’re not going to find one in a pub, so perhaps you should try to find a husband instead,” her mom quips.
Without giving too much away, Miep then quickly begins to get her life together and is hired by Otto Frank himself.
At the April 25 premiere of the show, Powley talked to SheKnows about her character’s incredible story. “Miep really is in every woman, we’re all like her,” The Morning Show actress said. “She was just an ordinary young girl, partying too much, going out with her friends, newly in love and she found herself in this extraordinary situation. The point is we shouldn’t put her on a pedestal.”
She added, “I know she did amazing things but we can all do good things.”
Showrunner Phelan also spoke about the importance of learning about this part of history in a time like today. “I like to think that the lessons of World War II are behind us but they’re not because history has a tendency to circle back around,” Phelan said.
A Small Light premieres on National Geographic on May 1 and streams on Hulu and Disney+ the day after.
Before you go, click here to see the best TV shows and movies about the Jewish experience.
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