One-Woman Play Recalls Horrors and Hopes of Holocaust
Etty Hillesum loved life.
Even in occupied Amsterdam in 1941. Even in a concentration camp.
Her writings, which show a young Jewish woman wrestling with her love-hate world, will come to the Duquesne University campus in a special one-night performance on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. The play is directed by Austin Pendleton (Finding Nemo, My Cousin Vinny).
The event is planned as a remembrance of Kristallnacht, the night in November 1938 when tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi Germany and Austria were removed to concentration camps, their property and temples destroyed.
The messages in Etty's diaries and letters provide a very personal window into the Holocaust. They advocate social justice, challenge prejudice and examine genocide, said Susan Stein, the author and actress in the one-woman play, Etty, which relies only on Hillesum's words.
"Etty Hillesum invites us to examine our own personal lives and offers us a model for living without hate," Stein said.
Stein offers the example that Hillesum wrote on Sept. 23, 1942: "Every atom of hate we add to this world makes it still more inhospitable."
Before the performance in Duquesne's Genesius Theater, the historical context of Kristallnacht and biographical information of Hillesum will be shared by Drs. Marie Baird, Daniel Burston and Matthew Schneirov, faculty members of Duquesne's McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts. A reception will follow.
"We at Duquesne are very grateful to be once again hosting a remembrance of Kristallnacht," said Dr. James Swindal, dean of the McAnulty College. "The resources of art, music and theater express for us now the vast suffering of that night for so many in the Jewish community. It brings renewed hope to us all that we can live in a world with peace for all."
Besides the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, the event is sponsored by the Nathan and Helen Goldrich Foundation, Duquesne's Jewish Studies Forum and its Women's and Gender Studies Program.
Admission is $15 person; registration is available online at www.duq.edu/etty.