On November 1st, Scheck Hillel’s eleventh graders visited the Mar-JCC to watch the JCAT production of The Diary of Anne Frank. The play, which is based on the diary with the same name, tells the story of the Frank family during the Holocaust from the point of view of their youngest daughter, Anne. In her diary, Anne writes about her and her family’s experiences while living in hiding in the secret annex of an office building in Amsterdam. Anne describes all of the ups and downs of life in the Annex, from her struggles with her mother to her crush on Peter van Daan, the son of the other family living with them. The play ends with the Nazis capturing and deporting everyone in the Annex. Otto Frank, Anne’s father, is the only survivor. After the war, Miep Gies, the woman who hid the family, returns the diary to Otto, and he publishes it for the world to read.
Dr. Barouk, one of the eleventh grade Modern Jewish History teachers, explained that it was important for the eleventh graders to see this play, especially since it was made in our community. Also, the Holocaust will be a main focus of her Modern Jewish History curriculum during second semester, and the play helped provide the Juniors with an introduction into the era. “This way, our students were able to witness an introduction into our Holocaust stories, and it was also a great opportunity for us to go and experience something that we heard so much about so that we would have a better idea of what life was like for those people,” she stated
After the play, a few students wanted to share their opinions on the performance. “I thought the play was very well done. The stage set up was really nice. The actors did a very good job with their delivery and feeling the emotion of the play, and I think the students of Hillel took it very well and understood the whole point” stated Alex Wagenberg, “I also liked how they depicted everything Anne wrote in her diary by having her say it in monologue form.” Yedida Bentolila revealed, “It was very moving and interesting to see what life was really like for Anne because I never truly heard her story before. I heard about it, but I didn’t know many details about it before watching the play.”
Junior Leah Grobman also recognized the importance of watching a serious play like The Diary of Anne Frank. Along with complimenting the actors and production, Leah explained, “I read the book a long time ago, so I didn’t really remember the story. However, I know that it is so important nowadays because history does repeat itself, so we have to be aware of our history.” The play may now be over, but students are still encouraged to read the book and spread its message of positivity far and wide.