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Ursinus Students Tell the Stories of Women in the Holocaust

Four students performed in a New York event that commemorates the survival, solidarity and resistance of women in concentration camps.

Assistant Professor of Theater Meghan Brodie took four students to perform at an event in the Center for Jewish History, New York City: Women and Resistance: Women, Theatre, and the Holocaust, April 26.

The event was presented by Remember the Women Institute in cooperation with American Jewish Historical Society and was part of the Holocaust Remembrance Day play readings organized by the National Jewish Theater Foundation/Holocaust Theater International Initiative.

The evening launched the third edition of Remember the Women Institute’s Women, Theatre, and the Holocaust Resource Handbook, edited by Rochelle G. Saidel and Karen Shulman of Remember the Women Institute.

Students Mya Flood, Indira Joell, Maddie Kuklentz and Allison Rohr performed the piece. In Her Words: Stories of Survival and Resistance is a short performance piece adapted from the memoirs of Virginia D’Albert-Lake, Geneviève de Gaulle Anthonioz, Gemma La Guardia Gluck, and Isabella Leitner.  Brodie adapted and directed five monologues chronicling the survival and resistance of women in concentration and extermination camps during the Holocaust. 

“The purpose of the performance piece is twofold: to highlight the experiences, particularly the solidarity, of women in camps and to teach a new generation about the Holocaust and ask them to carry with them the stories of those who are no longer with us to share their experiences firsthand,” said Brodie. The students, she said, “believe that a commitment to remembering and sharing stories of the Holocaust can transcend one’s faith, race, sexuality, age, and cultural background, and hope that the intersectionality represented by the voices of In Her Words makes these stories both timely and personal for those who encounter them.”

The same students had performed a concert version of the piece in March at the 47th Annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches at Temple University as a part of the opening program/keynote for the conference. 

In 2014 Brodie directed the English-language world premiere of In the Underworld: A darkly comic operetta, written by Germaine Tillion while she was imprisoned in Ravensbrück concentration camp. She wrote a short essay about her experiences working on In the Underworld: A darkly comic operetta that appears in the Women, Theatre, and the Holocaust Resource Handbook. She is currently exploring options for directing a professional production of In the Underworld: A darkly comic operetta in this area.

Brodie has been invited to participate in the annual Women, Theatre, and the Holocaust readings at the Center for Jewish History for the past three years.  Last year she directed four Ursinus students who performed readings from Charlotte Delbo’s Who Will Carry the Word? – Wendy Greenberg