Just a few more practices to go before the lights go up on Miracles in the Camp, this year’s Homeschool Dramatic Society play. For our playwright and director daughter Mary Evelyn, this is play number 21 and it’s play number 21 for her assistant director and mama, too. As I have told you in years past, this time of year is one of my favorites.
This year we tell the true story of Anita Dittman, a German girl whose father was Aryan and whose mother was a Jew. Anita learned about Jesus in public school and came to believe in Him. In an era when many Germans were buying in to the Nazi worldview and even some ministers were bowing to the Nazi agenda and putting pictures of Hitler in their churches, the schools continued their longtime practice of having classes in religion, Christianity in particular. God certainly doesn’t have to have everything “just right” to get through to someone who is open to Him.
The lives of Anita Dittman and her family grew harder and harder in the months before World War II and then very difficult during the war. By the time the war began, Anita’s atheist father had given in to pressure to leave his Jewish wife. A minister helped Anita’s sister get safely to England, but the travel documents for Anita and her mother came too late. They were trapped.
Mother and daughter ended up in separate labor camps. Though horrible, labor camps were not as awful as concentration camps. By the time they went to the labor camps, both mother and daughter were deeply committed to Jesus Christ. Both trusted Him throughout the ordeal and both found other prisoners who trusted Him, too. The play ends with hope amidst the ruin Germany experienced after its defeat.
Anita Dittman emigrated to America in 1946. In 1977 she worked with author Jan Markell to write down her story in the book entitled Miracles in the Camp. The title of the 4th edition, published in 2014, is Trapped in Hitler’s Hell: A Young Jewish Girl Discovers the Messiah’s Faithfulness in the Midst of the Holocaust. Please be aware that we are not telling all of Anita’s story in the play. Some of the events in Anita’s life were so terrible that we couldn’t have children telling — or watching — those parts. This book is definitely not one you can hand your children to read on their own; and if you read it aloud, you would want to read ahead to see if you want to leave some things out or edit them as you go.
Anita is now in her early 90s. I am thrilled that she knows that 100 homeschoolers in Tennessee are telling her story this weekend. Our actors and actresses have been bringing in letters and drawings for Mary Evelyn to send to her.
The verse Anita chose to include before the foreword of her book is this one:
Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me,
For my soul takes refuge in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge
Until destruction passes by.
If you live close enough to join us, we’d love to have you. Be sure and buy your tickets ahead of time!