Sunday, April 14, 2013

Interval Thirteen - Holocaust Remembrance Week

At the close of Episode Thirteen, our little group of Jewish refugees were seen huddled together in the living room of Albert Wachter’s house, and under heavy bombardment.  Falling metal from the anti-aircraft guns is raining down on the roof and the air-raid sirens are screaming.  The bombers are “carpet-bombing” the area, very likely because Gestapo headquarters are just down the street. 
The stage directions of the play A Ball for Genia provide for involving the audience so it too feels the effects of the bombing, with the auditorium becoming part of a sound chamber. Large loud speakers are located backstage, and at the back and at both sides, provide for a surrounding effect, sound and an actual percussive effect on individuals. The large center-stage window is also shattered by the force of a nearby bomb blast. The panes are behind the heavy curtain so a violent effect can be attained without hazard to the nearby cast.  The crash should be of such intensity as to be frightening, with the concussive effect enhanced by the sound system,  and with the addition of broken glass actually thrown on the stage by the stage hands.  The broken glass will be visible through the disarranged drapes in next episode, and will show brightly in the rays of the morning sun.
But will there be another episode?  They could all perish in Episode Thirteen, with the house and their bodies blown all over the neighborhood.  But that is no way to end a play. They all deserve better ending, and perhaps even a happy ending!

We’ll see in the forthcoming Episode Fourteen, the final episode of the play.  So look forward to Monday, April 22!
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And let’s not forget that last week was Holocaust Memorial Week nationwide in the USA.  We must never forget!

The United States Congress established the Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust and created the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a permanent living memorial to the victims.
Holocaust Remembrance Day was Monday, April 8, with the whole week being dedicated to remembrance of the Holocaust. 

Fittingly, the theme for the National Days of Remembrance for 2013 is Never Again:  Heeding the Warning Signs.  This article discusses the years immediately preceding the outbreak of WWII and some of the early efforts to assist the Jewish refugees from Germany, particularly after Kristallnacht:
“Looking back at the events of 1938, the signs of impending war and the Holocaust—territorial expansion, disregard for international law, persecution of people based on their identity—are undoubtedly clearer today than they were then. Nonetheless, opportunities for international intervention, such as at the Evian Conference, existed and could have saved many lives. Why did so many countries and individuals fail to respond to the warning signs? And what can we learn from the few who chose to act, despite widespread indifference?” (from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website)

The article also discusses the efforts of Lola Hahn Warburg to rescue some 10,000 children from Nazi Germany during the Kindertransport (source:  Wikipedia) program.  Sixty eight years later, this was commemorated by a plaque and statue at Liverpool Street station in London.  A moving monument.

A terrible shame that more of the over 1 million children who died in the Holocaust could not likewise be saved, but an heroic effort nonetheless.

Another notable day within this last week was the 67th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp Buchenwald on April 11, 1945.  For a tremendously important account of that day, please see Life magazine's memorial published this week to the haunting photographs by Margaret Bourke-White (source:  Wikipedia), pictured below.

Lastly but just as importantly, we would like to direct you to an interview with the author of the play, which was published this week by the Chicago Examiner writer Christine Stumpf, and which gives a fascinating insight into the creation of the play.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and do feel free to “like” it if you are so inclined.

And don’t forget to see what happens next Monday, April 22 in Episode Fourteen.  The big question:  Did anyone survive?

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