When Holocaust Survivors Join Students in Theater Class

The Fellowship  |  November 18, 2019

Writing at the Times of Israel, Rich Tenorio tells us more about a Holocaust documentary by filmmaker Oren Rudavsky called ‘Witness Theater’ that puts high schoolers and Holocaust survivors in conversation with one another for powerful storytelling:

This affects students as well as survivors. As Aron recounts his experiences from Auschwitz-Birkenau, one student starts to cry. Aron tells her he is sorry, and adds, “I think you had enough for today.”

Despite such difficulties, the students get to know the survivors as individuals. They visit them and learn more details about their lives during and after the war. In her home, Claudine shows the Jewish star she was forced to wear in France, which she has held onto. She shares other aspects of her life, such as sculptures by her late husband, who was an artist. And, she says, she was a ballet dancer for seven years.

“The film happens to be about the Holocaust, survivors in the Holocaust,” Rudavsky said. “I think the film, much more importantly, is about young people and old people, sharing in ways that just happen less and less.” …

“My biggest hope is that kids will see the film,” Rudavsky said. “To see other students working with these old people, crying, relating, that’s really what it’s all about. And then festival audiences. You know, on the one hand, people feel, ‘Oh, I’ve seen everything about the Holocaust, I know everything.’ They don’t know this story.”

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