By Ashley Epp “I’m nothing special,” the small, square-faced 80 year-old man said as he sat in front of the large group of student actors hanging on his every word. “Just a lucky guy to be alive.” Lou Leviticus, one of the last few Holocaust survivors, visited Lincoln High School’s One Act Production cast on
By Ashley Epp
“I’m nothing special,” the small, square-faced 80 year-old man said as he sat in front of the large group of student actors hanging on his every word. “Just a lucky guy to be alive.”
Lou Leviticus, one of the last few Holocaust survivors, visited Lincoln High School’s One Act Production cast on Thursday, November 3rd in the Ted Sorensen Theatre. He was here to educate the students about what the horror of the Holocaust was really like.
“I was born in the Netherlands, in 1931, in a small village in the eastern part of the Netherlands. Most maps don’t even show it,” Leviticus said. His family escaped from the Nazi Army and were hidden in an attic. As the soldiers beckoned up the stairs to capture his family, He leaped off the balcony and began to run wherever his 11 year old legs took him.
“My favorite part was how open he was about his experiences and how willing he was to share his story, because a lot of people aren’t,” senior Yasmin Perez said.When asked what was the most interesting part of his stories, Senior Margery Dunkle said, “The way he talked about your life being the most important thing.” She continued, “Like when he jumped out of the window – if I was in that situation I don’t know If I could leave my family. But I don’t know that I wouldn’t.”
The 30 minute One Act Play, Home on the Mornin’ Train, by Kim Hines, portrays a group of Jewish teens fleeing from Nazi Soldiers in 1939. A young Jewish girl has a book that talks of the journey to freedom of slaves in 1839 America, and as the children read, the story comes to life mirroring their own experience.
“Lou told his story,” English and Drama Teacher Patsy Koch-Johns said. She asked Leviticus what his message would be to a group of kids who are working on something like this – a play that tells the story of kids their age who are effected by wars and racism caused by adults.
“He spent a lot of time talking about creating a family on stage, so that the audience would see the family,” Koch-Johns said. “That’s something we teach in Theatre: ensemble. Working together and not thinking you’re better than anyone else, to make sure that everyone is doing their best job no matter what.”
Leviticus spoke of discrimination and his struggle losing everything he had because of the Nazis. “In the back of my mind I thought, it cannot happen here because we are law abiding people,” Leviticus said. “Law abiding people don’t let that happen to their population. You don’t let part of your population get hauled off to camps, beaten in the streets, or property taken away. Since we didn’t believe it, we didn’t worry about it.”
Students presented Leviticus with a piece of handmade pottery full of notes of gratitude and appreciation for coming to speak to them. The rehearsal ended with every student giving him individual hugs.