Kindness: A Legacy of the Holocaust

A few months ago I started working as a researcher, stage manager and understudy on putting on an educational play about the Holocaust based on the story of the survivor Susan Pollock MBE.

Susan has most kindly invited us to her home, generously shared her story and answered all our questions. I feel I have learned so much and feel like the words “kindness” and “resilience” have gained a whole different meaning. Her energy and will to live are truly inspiring! 

Susan was born in Hungary from where she was transported to Auschwitz - Birkenau. She was separated from her family, subjected to work at an electrical factory and walk the death march to Bergen Belsen where she was later liberated. This is a difficult post for me to write as the harrowing details of her account are fresh in my mind. I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to live with this story having been through it.

“Kindness: the Legacy of the Holocaust” is a largely verbatim play documenting Susan’s story commissioned by the Voices of the Holocaust, an educational theatre company supported by the European Jewish Congress. 

The play premiered this week at Harrow Arts Centre coinciding with the Holocaust Memorial Day taking place the following day. The premiere was well received and attended.  It has been an incredible and overwhelming day. I’m delighted how many people came to see and hear the story of this remarkable woman. I am very grateful to be part of the company that made Susan’s story come alive through theatre and memorialised it for future generations.

After the show, I was honoured to host a discussion and Q&A about this very special project with Susan Pollock herself, Cate Hollis the founder & artistic director of Voices of the Holocaust and co-author of “Kindness” and Mark Wheeller co-author and one of Britain’s most performed playwrights.

“Kindness” will now tour around schools in the UK as part of an educational project educating young people about the Holocaust. It will be accompanied by the  “Mitzvah / Acts of Kindness Project” to help young people reflect on the ideas contained in the play and as a way of creating a positive commitment to counter the troubling realities that we face in our contemporary society.

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