The actor stood on a dark stage. She recited her next line. "You die if you go to Auschwitz," she proclaimed. "Everyday the trains go and no one returns."
The emotional scene about the holocaust was from the play "I Never Saw Another Butterfly". Seconds later, more scared words came out of the actor's mouth. "I hate this place and everything. Everything. What's the use of anything if we're going to die."
The play is part of a new exhibit at Gulf Coast Community College's Perkinston campus, and it's taught actress Sarah Johnson a valuable lesson. According to the Perk student, "It's changed me in the sense that it has caused me to look at the holocaust and what the Jewish people went through in a whole new light."
A group of St. John students spent about an hour and a half touring the holocaust exhibit . The focal point of what they heard about were diary entries of a 15 year old named Anne Frank. One of the tour guides described Frank's diary this way. "She didn't know she was writing stuff that the rest of the world would know after her death."
Some of Frank's writings hang on 17 display boards in Malone Gallery. They outline Europe's fear and confusion in the 1930s and 40s when the Nazi's exerted their influence and power on a child, her family and her people. It's been an important lesson for Perk student Aleshea Harrison. She said, "Something like this gives us a better understanding of what happened and a better understanding of the fact that we need to stay true to ourselves no matter what."
On one of the boards in Malone Gallery is an excerpt from Anne Frank's diary dated April 5, 1944. It says, "When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived. But and that's a big question, will I ever be able to write something great?"
The impact Anne Frank's diary had on the Perk Players is evidence that the answer to the question she pondered 57 years ago is yes. According to Sarah Johnson, "It helps me to realize that even through big hardships and things that they had to face, they were still strong and they still lived on."
Anne Frank died while in a Nazi concentration camp. But she lives on through her diary, and this exhibit at Perk.
The Anne Frank holocaust exhibit is at Perk through the end of January. For information, call the campus at (601) 928-6369.
by Brad Kessie