Holocaust stories being shared in 'The Glorious and the Brave'

April 30, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Kayla Stahl, a senior at Greencastle-Antrim High School, is pictured April 22 with her art at the Holocaust Memorial Service. Her art will be featured at Tuesday night's debut of "The Glorious & The Brave."
By Roxann Miller/Staff Writer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — It’s been 77 years since the end of World War II and the mass murder of Europe’s Jews.

Tuesday night, at 7 p.m. in the Greencastle-Antrim High School auditorium, the community will get a chance to witness firsthand accounts of the liberation of concentration camps from local veterans, as well as Holocaust survivors when “The Glorious & The Brave” debuts.

The free event is open to the public.

Students in Martina Fegan’s Human Rights Literature classes at the high school recorded their interviews with local World War II veterans last year.

“Every day, we are losing our living witnesses to World War II and the Holocaust. Our students wanted to preserve those memories,” Fegan said.

“These are members of our community that were affected and are still impacted so many years later,” Fegan said.

Funding for the project came from a service-learning grant from Learn and Serve America, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

U.S. Army Veteran Vern Baker of Chambersburg, Pa., helped with the liberation of Dacau Concentration Camp. It’s something that will stay with him forever, he said.

“You couldn’t believe people could look that way. Their heads were shaved, their eyes were sunk in ... it was terrible, and those suits just hung on them,” Baker said in a speech earlier this month at the 34th annual Holocaust Memorial Service in Chambersburg.

Baker is one of a number of local veterans featured in the video.

Baker, like many other soldiers, witnessed grisly images that still haunt him: dead bodies piled six to eight feet high; more than 30 boxcars filled with the bodies of those who failed to make a 27-day trip without food or water.

Others included in the documentary are William Benson, Richard Gingrich, Richard Hamsher and Paul Kriner.

Eric Epstein, previously a Holocaust professor at Penn State University, and an author of numerous articles and a book about the Holocaust, assisted in finding Ellie Chapman. She is a survivor who shared her story as a hidden child on the documentary.

Sylvia Galman Bonebrake, who lives a few miles from the high school, lived in the Jewish East End of London during World War II. She survived the Blitz and shared her story on the documentary.

It was Fegan’s human-rights class that fused an artistic spark in senior Kayla Stahl of Greencastle.

Before taking the class, Kayla said the only thing she knew about the Holocaust was what she read in “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

“That book was only a part of the Holocaust,” Kayla said. “I wanted to learn more about it.”

That’s when she literally put herself into her work, creating a number of pieces of art titled “Representing the Holocaust in Art.”

Her work debuted at the Holocaust Memorial Service in Chambersburg earlier this month. Since then, she has added to her collection and will showcase it at Tuesday night’s debut of “The Glorious & The Brave.”

“I wish more people knew about it (the Holocaust) because it’s such a serious and important subject,” Kayla said.

After the debut, Fegan said she doesn’t know what the future holds for the student-produced DVD or book.

But she welcomes speaking engagements and other opportunities to share the story of World War II and the Holocaust.

“We just want people to see these stories and hear these stories, and keep these memories alive,” Fegan said.

The book and DVD can be purchased for $10 and $15, respectively.

Proceeds from the sale of the book and DVD will benefit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Veterans, survivors and students will be available after the debut to sign copies of the DVD and book.

To order the book or DVD, call Fegan at 717-597-3226 or 717-264-1008.

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