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GAAR/The Mirror to Present THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK

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GAAR/The Mirror to Present THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK

A conversation between Jewish Generations by Ash Kotak

GAAR/The Mirror will present a production of The Diary of Anne Frank at the Hardwick Townhouse, August 20-22.

In preparation for the role as Anne Frank's hiding companion Peter van Daan, 16 year old, Will River Mossek- last seen as Dill in To Kill A Mockingbird and recently featured in Spike Lee/Barry Brown's feature film, "Son of The South" as the young Bob Zellner - met Doris Hollander, looking well in her mid 80s, at her home in North London in the UK.

The meeting was so Will, who is of Jewish heritage, would understand the importance of performing historical plays based on true and very tragic stories. Doris is the second cousin of Anne Frank and knew her and her family as a young child. Her family account, written by her elder sister, can be read in Wilma's Story: Growing Up in Nazi Germany and Colonial Rhodesia.

"The Nazis were evil. We must remember what people are capable of. We can easily forget, as time passes, what happened then, not so long ago. It is important you portray these stories as an actor, so your generation understands what our generation went through." Doris told Will.

GAAR/The Mirror to Present THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK

Doris, born in 1936 in Germany, was a young child when she and her family were forced to leave Europe in 1939 just before the war started. The Frank Family, including Anne - Doris'second cousin- saw them off from Amsterdam when they set sail to a new life in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia via South Africa. It was a good move, it saved their lives.

"Many Jews were trying to escape. It was very difficult to get a visa to anywhere else. We were lucky as my aunt was already in Rhodesia. The Franks had escaped from Germany to the Netherlands in 1933. When things got even worse, they then tried to leave Europe to the USA but it was impossible. No one wanted us Jews."

Much of Doris' family, left behind, were murdered by the Nazis, including the Franks apart from Anne's father Otto, who was the sole member to survive the Holocaust. After they were caught he was sent to Auschwitz. Anne Frank was 16 years old when she died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen camp. Peter (whose real surname was van Pels) died at 18.

Doris' elder sister Wilma, who was 14 when they escaped, wrote many notes in her later years, for her autobiography, which has now been published in a book Wilma's Story: Growing Up in Nazi Germany and Colonial Rhodesia with an introduction by Doris and edited by her husband Martin Page. They presented Will with a copy so he could understand the time more accurately.

"Imagine having to give up everything you knew and having to run away or hide. For Anne and Peter it must have been so frightening as well as boring being locked away for 2 years in such a small space and then after all that being arrested and sent to camps" Doris continued.

"What is so very sad is they both died just before the war ended." added Will.

GAAR/The Mirror to Present THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK

It was a memorable and meaningful meeting, one both of them will not forget quickly. "There were many people hiding and Anne's diary represents so many others. Otto Frank, her dad, did all he could to publicise it so it remains. It is an important story to keep telling."

The Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Diary of a Young Girl (1947) was adapted to a Broadway play The Diary of Anne Frank (1955) which became an Academy Award-winning film with the same name (1959). Artistic Director Sabra Jones will direct this 2021 production. The title role of Anne Frank will be played by Vermonter Elizabeth Fitzgerald.

Learn more at http://hardwicktownhouse.org. Get advance tickets at www.themirror.org.


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