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DHS theatre II class to perform ‘Anne Frank’

It’s hard for us in our comfortable, 21st-Century American lives to even fathom the horrors of living in Nazi-occupied Europe. We have no idea what it was like to be hunted by soldiers because of our religion, knowing we would be taken to certain death if we were found out.

“The Diary of Anne Frank” — based on the book “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” — helps bring that feeling to life.

It is the story of a Jewish family taking cover in hidden rooms in the Amsterdam office building of her father, Otto Frank.

Over time, others join the family in hiding from Nazi soldiers, and the story relates the interrelationships among these people as they must stay hidden and quiet for much of the two years they stayed in the hidden rooms.

The family was helped by many people employed in the office building who brought in food and other necessities, also having to be wary of the soldiers who had occupied the country.

In the opening, the Franks enter wearing the yellow Star of David given by Nazi soldiers to identify them as Jewish people. Throughout the performance, Anne writes her thoughts and feelings in her diary, given to her on her 13th birthday.

At Demopolis High School, the play helped to make the Holocaust more real to the theatre class and other students. The classes, taught by Jody White – theatre class teacher and director of the play – began taking up pennies to help with the maintenance of B’nai Jeshrun Cemetery here in Demopolis, the final resting place of many members of our once-thriving Jewish community.

“When we started this play, we started collecting pennies of remembrance,” White said. “Children seem to think that pennies are disposable. We felt like that was a good symbol to represent the way that the Nazis felt about the Jews.

“It’s brought some awareness. We want to continue sthis project even after the play is over. Our goal is to get 60,000 pennies, one penny for every prisoner who was in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Lohheide, Germany.”

People can donate pennies at the performances this week and at the school for the rest of the year.

Performances: Thursday, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 7 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.

Admission: Adults $5, children $3 (Those thinking about bringing children should be mindful of adult themes regarding World War II and the Holocaust.)