School program focuses on horrors of the Holocaust


Patrick Gaskins, a student from Early College EAST in Havelock, plays the role of a condemned man sent to the gas chamber in a program on the Holocaust at the Performing Arts Center at Havelock High School.

Drew C. Wilson/Havelock News
Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 08:54 AM.

The girls spoke the words of the dead.

“I am German. I am beaten. I am Gypsy. I am drowned. I am Polish. I am gassed. I am Jewish. I am hanged. I am American. I am shot. I am anyone. I am everyone. I am homosexual … .” 

Keylee Mays’ monotone voice impacted everyone in attendance at a special program on the Holocaust put on by students from Early College EAST at the Havelock High School Performing Arts Center.

“Discriminated, beaten, harassed, a complete violation of privacy,” said Laramie Keeler, her forehead blasted with a ghastly wound as she sat in a wheelchair. “The stroke not only took away my ability to walk, but my family and my dignity. Before this, I was an important figure. With my husband I ran a business that was valued in the community. After the stroke, that’s when it all began to fall apart. First came the soldiers ordering me from my home, then came the isolation, isolation from the people I knew and loved. Then came the forced sterilization. Me being female, I had a ligation of my ovarian tubes. I barely made it off of the table. Soon after, I got the news that my wound had been infected. Then I knew that my time was very limited.”

Keeler played the role of the thousands of disabled people who were of no use to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party and were put to death along with more than 13 million others. The rest were forced into concentration camps, then worked and starved in inhumane conditions.

The portrayals by the students were meant to have a lasting effect on the small groups of attendees who toured six stations as part of the program.

“It reminds me that I’m 50 percent Polish and that my ancestors fled during World War II,” said student Luke Fisher. “It’s a piece of history. We don’t want it to happen again, do we?”

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