LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Lansing’s Riverwalk Theatre performed “The Diary of Anne Frank,” the story of a young girl who hid from the Nazi’s during World War II.
The play was especially meaningful for one woman in the audience, Irene Butter. She’s a survivor of the Holocaust. She also lived in the same neighborhood as Anne Frank.
“All the actors were genuine and represented the characters very well and it was so gripping I was in tears practically the whole time. I didn’t even think I could talk afterwards,” said Irene Butter, holocaust survivor.
Butter answering personal questions in front of hundreds of people who stayed after the performance for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Butter grew up in the same quaint neighborhood in Amsterdam as Anne Frank. Her friend “Kitty” lived on the same street as Anne.
“She is in some of the school pictures that we all see of Anna,” said Butler. “I guess she was a pretty visible, popular member of her community and of the school class.”
Years later Irene Butter and Anne Frank were held prisoner in the same concentration camp in Bergen-Belsen, Germany. Butter survived, Frank did not.
Frank died a month after Butter and her family were liberated from the camp. It was Jan. 23, 1945 a day they were put on a train to Switzerland. A day she will never forget.
“But then when it was the Red Cross train and they told us we could take our stars off and it was heated and they served food,” said Butter.
Butler nodded when asked if that was the moment she knew she was safe.
Now in her 80s Butter still speaks to school children around the state about the life lessons she’s learned. One of them is the miracle of survivor-ship.
“Luck, just random luck, you know…I mean I wanted to survive that’s true. I had dreams and I didn’t want to die in Bergen-Belsen, but still it’s luck. I could have contracted typhoid, just like Anna did,” said Butter.