Sunday, six of us lady’s from the park had the pleasure of attending the Harlingen Performing Arts Theaters Matinee performance of “The Diary of Anne Frank”. This is a local Volunteer Theater comprised of some of the most talented performers in the area. They did a fantastic job with this play. I read the book as a teen and had recently downloaded the newer version on my Kindle. I have yet to read it. This is a true story of the Frank Family, mom, dad, and 2 daughters, Margot and Anne, who went into hiding in July 1942. The persecution of the Jewish people was being stepped up by the Nazi’s and the German Occupation. They were being shipped to Concentration Camps and eventually the Genocide of the Jews began. Also known as the “Holocaust”, 2/3 rds of the Jewish population, 6 million people were exterminated.
This story takes place in the upstairs concealed rooms of Mr. Franks former business in Amsterdam. The entrance was hidden by a bookcase. Anne was 13 when they went into hidding. They arrived with just a few things and layers of clothing, so not to attract the attention of the Nazi soldiers , as they walked the streets to the store to begin their life in seclusion. Another family (Van Daan), moved in also with a young teenage son, Peter. Also another man Jan Dussel, arrived later who was branded as a Jew. From July of 1942 – Aug 1944, they never set foot outside of their floor. They had to be very quite during the day during the business working hours down stairs. Anne was given a Diary from her father. She started to write about their daily life and her private feelings. For 2 years they all lived together, sharing their daily lives, happiness, sadness, heartaches sometimes arguing. Much of it went into her diary. She was a child when they first entered the building and became a young teenager during that time. She experienced the changes in her body and her desires. Only 4 people in the business downstairs knew they were their. They tried to come daily with food, personal needs and news from the outside world about the war. They knew if caught, they would probably be arrested and probably put to death.
Most of us know the ending. Eventually they were found near the end of the war. They were taken to Concentration Camps. The girls died of probably Typhus, in February of 1945. Their mom also died. Otto Frank was the only one to survive. Her diary was left behind in the building. It was found and given back to him. So her story was preserved, her dream as an author was realized. She was able to tell the true story of their persecution and attempt to survive.
The theater did a fabulous job with the stage props. The stage was divided into the different bedrooms the family’s had, including a lofted upstairs bedroom for the Van Daam Family. Their was also a small kitchen area and a commons area. All of this on one stage. The story flowed through the rooms as they opened and closed imaginary doors. The sound effects were so authentic. They had sounds of marching solders in the streets, sirens, people talking, airplanes, and many other sounds. The lighting was also phenomenal. As the story unfolded in different rooms, the spotlights would flow from one room to another. A number of times the lights would go dark, and then the spotlight would come on. Anne would be sitting at the kitchen table writing in her diary. Their was darkness all around her. She would read as she wrote in her diary, telling the story of the news of the war, or her deep feelings as a growing teen. It was so surreal during those scenes. You could feel her hope, her feelings of young love, her frustration with her mom and room mates. Her yearning to be a regular teen, and doing the best possible.
The cast was marvelous. Their lines were polished. They spoke them with ease. Their feeling spoke with every word. They were truly living their roles. Everything was so synchronized. This is truly a heart wrenching story, as we know that they perished. Also 6 million Jews were killed and or died in the camps. They were treated with no humanity. The suffered so before they were sent to the gas chambers. Why……Just because of their faith. They were Jewish. This is because of one man. “Hitler”....He decided their fate. The solders did what they were told. How can you do that. I never understand nor will anyone else. We must never forget what happened. Lets hope America stays strong. We must never let one man rule and we obediently follow. We must stand up for our rights, even if we disagree with the powers to be. America is a very fortunate country. We have freedoms that many others do not…..This is a must read book. This was just one story of the prosecutions of the “Holocaust” Please take the time to read it. Otto Frank published the first book in 1947 in Dutch. In 1952 it was then translated and published in English. Since then it was been published in over 60 languages. Anne’s dream has been realized. She has become a hero and her story has been published and is being read from generation to generation. She was but a young girl trying to grow up during the reign of the Nazis.