Anna Ornstein shared a memory a year with her family at Passover, commemorating freedom from Egyptian enslavement of the Jews who built the pyramids we all admire. Dr. Ornstein’s 30 stories of surviving and then revisiting concentration camps are rendered in terse, immediate prose. My Mother’s Eyes: Holocaust Memories of a Young Girl (Emmis Books, 2004) begs asking, how could this happen?
Ornstein doesn’t tell. She shows.
“The 200 Jews of Szendro [Hungary] were ... stuffed into two wagons ... the townspeople ... with their arms folded, looked on with bemused curiosity.” Only one woman, who had worked in Anna’s household, broke through the silence, calling out, waving good-bye, a noble act of humanity, for which she was beaten down by the police. Elie Wiesel’s Memoirs are more lyrical, philosophical. Yet both show how shattered lives are put together in service to humankind. If you also read Gene Glick’s Born to Build, you learn another side to the same story, how liberating Dachau as a young soldier shaped a Hoosier’s life.
Various programs are marking the 75th birthday of Anne Frank.
WFYI-TV is airing the 1959 film Diary of Anne Frank June 9 at 8 p.m. and June 12 at 2 a.m.
Spotlight Players is presenting Wendy Kesselman’s adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank June 11-20 at First Christian Church, 75 N. 10th Ave., Beech Grove ($8; 837-9977). Also at First Christian Church: “In the Attic: A Multicultural Look at Anti-Semitism” June 11 and 18 at 6:30 p.m.; “What Have We Learned?” June 13 and 20 at 1 p.m.; and “Voices From the Fire” June 12 and 19, 6:30 p.m. Plus, Theatre Non Nobis will present Esther and Women of the Holocaust, plays that bring together the stories of strong Hebrew women experiencing the horrors of war, the attempted eradication of their culture and the role of women in their respective situations, June 11-13 and 18-19.