APU Theater Honors Holocaust Survivors with Kindertransport

by Evan Black '17

Kindertransport, a play written by Diane Samuels, depicts the valiant effort to smuggle nearly 10,000 Jewish children out of Nazi Germany and into England before the start of World War II. The Azusa Pacific Department of Theater Arts shares this powerful story of loss, separation, courage, and hope on stage this November. A bold choice of production, this Holocaust play affirms the ability of theater to bring about social change as Kindertransport recalls and honors a dark period in history while discussing themes of separation and the reverberations of traumatic events through generations of a family. “My hope,” said Monica Ganas, Ph.D., director of Kindertransport, “is that we can begin meaningful and ongoing dialogue about human experience, social justice, and the arts.” Approaching this production with care, Ganas called upon Holocaust scholar and APU English professor, Carole Lambert, Ph.D., to help draft an invitation to men and women affected by the actual Kindertransport rescue effort to attend the show as honored guests. Those who hold personal memories of the Holocaust will join APU scholars in a post-show discussion panel November 16 following the matinee. Participants will include Helen Freeman, Auschwitz survivor and author; Michelle Gold, daughter of a Kindertransport survivor; and Gabriella Karin, a Holocaust survivor, among several others.

Seeing this production’s potential to inspire rich conversation, Ganas also challenged her students to curate an exhibit adjacent to Azusa Pacific’s Black Box Theater. The space now features story excerpts, posters from the era, and artifacts pertaining to the Holocaust on display for the duration of the show. Lambert applauds these efforts. “This play illustrates Dr. Ganas’ giftedness as a director, one with acute sensitivities to never forget the horrors of the Holocaust or the bravery of the Jewish community. I endorse her effort to honor these stories.”

“I hope the show will speak to the hearts and minds of many, especially the Jewish community. But the show’s universal themes will resonate with all audience members,” said Ganas.

Kindertransport runs November 13–15, and 20–22 at 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on November 15,16, 22, and 23. To purchase them, visit the Felix Event Center Box Office, call (626) 815-5494, or visit online ticket purchase.