Base conducts creative observance

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Base personnel solemnly remembered years of violent oppression during a creative and theatrical Holocaust observance held April 27.

Upon arrival, attendees received an "identification card" documenting the story of a real person who lived during the Holocaust. The primary focus, however, was the theatrical monologue of Dr. Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, performed by Lt. Col. Ken Dewlen, 366th Force Support Squadron commander.

Introductory statements were conducted by Col. Bruce Smith, 366th Fighter Wing vice commander.

"The Holocaust was a tragic event in history," said Smith. "Approximately 11 million lives were lost because of cruel, racial prejudice."

Smith concluded his introduction by reiterating the importance of remembering such cruel events.

"We must never forget the Holocaust from our history as living memories are carried by the victims, and we must never let this atrocity repeat itself," stated Smith.

Immersing himself into the role of Frankl, Dewlen began his oration with a brief history of the doctor's early life and smoothly transitioned into Nazi occupation.

"In 1942, I met and married Tilly Grosser. Just a short nine months later me, my wife, my parents and my brother were all arrested and transported to Theresienstadt, which is a concentration camp near Prague. It was here I almost lost my life. There were two lines that formed to receive incoming prisoners. The line moving to the left was heading to the gas chambers, whereas the line to the right was the one in which the prisoner's lives were spared. I was directed to go to the left line but somehow managed to slip away and get in the right line. My family however, was forced to the left."

Dewlen closed the observance by capturing Frankl's inspiring attitude developed after enduring some of the most trying hardships known to man.

"The one thing you can't take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one's freedom is to choose one's attitude in any given circumstance."