There are few things that truly make me upset.  The biggest is ignorance.

“…she [Anne Frank] died three days before the camp was liberated, it makes me ill.  They knew the liberation was coming and they still went to the gas chamers?!”

~A Patron after the show

Ok, so you sit through two-and-a-half hours of a wonderful production of The Diary of Anne Frank in Salt Lake City, UT and this is what I hear people saying as they leave the theatre.  Go figure.

Go figure also that this comment came from a woman who looked to possibly have been old enough to at least have been born shortly after the war, it would seem to me that someone of that generation should have a little more understanding of what went on.

It amazes me how many people are just completely ignorant of the things that happened during World War II, especially people who are my age or older.  Are events from less than 100 years ago so quickly forgotten all the time?  Did people not learn about this in school like I did?  Does world history not get taught as thoroughly when you move this far west in this country?  Seriously.  Is Utah just that sheltered?

I can’t imagine that all of those things are true or that this is an isolated case.  Mostly because I know that when the show was being produced in Indiana they received similar remarks and questions there.  I will be very intrigued to hear the talkback after the student matinee on Wednesday.

I am having a hard time forming coherent thoughts, can you tell….

This is a period of history that I am sure that many people would love to forget, but it is something that we never should forget.  Sure, it didn’t happen here, in the United States, but it happened.  Even more forgotten is the fact that it almost did happen here, with the Japanese.  How does it come to pass that over a span of over 10 years the world was plagued with some of the grossest violations of human rights that have ever been seen.  How can we combat the continuing threats of genocide in other parts of the world today when we can’t even remember one of the biggest?  Why is it that people just don’t seem to understand history.

I grew up going to religious school, “Hebrew school” as we called it.  I was taught there about the Holocaust.  In public school we read books like The Diary of Anne Frank, Number the Stars, and The Devil’s Arithmetic.  I know some kids who even read Ellie Wiesel and Schindler’s List in high school.  I am pretty sure that at some point in my public school career we watched Schindler’s List.  All of this is grounds for not only a great English class, but for great history classes as well.  Anne Frank was 13 years old when she was writing, and her words were more powerful and better written than many modern published authors.  She wrote a perspective on the war that we see very little of.  Most books and movies focus on the ghettos, the concentration camps and the war itself.  This look at a life of hiding, waiting, never being able to get away from the people you live with is just so different.  It also shows that despite some of the darkest times in our history, there is still some light.

The other day a colleague asked me how watching this play made me feel, did it make me upset, is it hard to watch every night?  In all honesty, no, it isn’t really.  This is something I grew up with, grew up learning about.  I am proud to work on this production, especially on nights like tonight when i know that someone was actually touched by the story.  Zachor – Remember.  To me, that is what it is all about.  We need to remember, and if this helps, then I am happy.

Are there still things that make me upset when I think about the Holocaust, of course.  Could I walk through the museum in D.C. or Yad VaShem in Israel without being moved, no.  It is part of our history as a global community and it is part of my history.  On Passover we remember the Exodus from Egypt by saying “I was there when God took us out of Egypt…” and I think that there are many who feel that the Holocaust needs to be remembered the same way.

As bloggers, many try to leave what they hope will be a lasting impression on the world. Some might actually do that.  We all want to be remembered.  The real question is, will anyone be able to do it the same way that a 13 year old girl did with a fountain pen and a diary?






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