Last evening my wife and I attended the A.D. Players presentation of the Diary of Anne Frank. It was a dramatic, and at times intense, portrayal of the lives of eight Jews, who for two years were confined to a few small rooms while hiding from Nazi persecution in the Netherlands.
The play, adapted from the Diary of a Young Girl, gave a glimpse into the trials these eight people faced during the Holocaust, and the risk taken by those who gave so much to hide them. The play was done well, with the actors leading the audience through the broad range of emotions experienced under such trying conditions. There was laughter and anger, fear and love, desperation and hope.
As I sat watching, I was confronted with the reality of the horrors of what millions of Jews, and others, faced at the hands of the perpetrators who sought to carry out the Final Solution. Peering into the dark depths of what people are capable of doing to others can lead us to despair about the future of humanity.
But this teenage girl, trapped in a confined space and faced with the fear of being discovered by those who wanted to kill her, still had the courage and hope to write,
“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”– Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
Anne had the hope within her that light can dispell darkness, that this evil would come to an end. And though she may not have understood it, she was playing a part in bringing it to an end…because she didn’t give in.
Hiding took great courage and perseverance. Both for those who hid, and for those who risked their lives to hide them, it took great courage to resist, and to stand against the powers of oppression. Throughout the Holocaust, there were many people who stood for life and for justice, and many generations were saved as a result.
However, the sad truth is that many more people turned a blind eye toward the horrors being perpetrated against their fellow neighbor. Darkness unrestrained will spread, and it takes those with courage and hope to bring the light to dispell the darkness.
We can not sit idly by while others are oppressed. We too, must have the courage to stand, and to say never again. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
One way we can come together as a community and stand for justice is through the March of Remembrance, a simple prayer walk held annually to honor those who suffered during, and as a result of, the Holocaust. The March is held in cities across America, and provides an opportunity for the Christian community to stand with the Jewish community to say never again will we be silent in the face of injustice, in whatever form it arises.
I’d like to give a special thanks to the A.D. Players cast and crew for this powerful presentation of the Diary of Anne Frank, for communicating the hope we can find in it, and for raising awareness for the upcoming March of Remembrance in Houston on April 26 and 27, 2014.
The A.D. Players was founded in 1967 by Jeannette Clift George, who played the part of Corrie ten Boom in The Hiding Place, which tells the story of a Christian family in Holland that hid Jews from the Nazis. The Jews they hid were never discovered by the Nazis even though the ten Booms were arrested after being discovered as aides to the Jewish people. They were one of many families who sought to love their neighbor as themselves (Leviticus 19:18), even in the face of oppression.
The A.D. Players has been an advocate for Holocaust awareness, having partnered with Holocaust Museum Houston on multiple performances, and has helped promote the 2014 March of Remembrance in cities in, and surrounding, Houston. Marches will be held in Baytown, Brenham, Kingwood, Meyerland, and Webster. For more information about the March and free registration, visit the March of Remembrance Houston website.