Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Korczak's Children

Janusz Korczak was a Polish-Jewish doctor who was a key player in redefining the rights of children. He ran an orphanage which was moved into the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. When the Nazis came to take the 200 children of the orphanage to the death camp Treblinka, Janusz repeatedly refused offers of sanctuary and instead went to his death along with the children he cared for.

Part of his story is told in the play Korczak's Children by Jeffery Hatcher. The Jerusalem English Speaking Theater put on the play last year, and again this year. My daughter Tal performed in it, her first time on a real stage. She played Halinka, the judge of the children's court in the orphanage.

The play also has within it a play put on by the orphans, "The Post Office", and Tal played the the Dairy Maid, which included a small singing role.

Of course, I'm very proud of her.

The play has silliness in it, but an overriding sense of horror. The last moments when they all march off to their death was three hankies.

I'm glad it was this play about the Holocaust and not some others. I can't abide literature about the Holocaust that has happy endings, as if to say that a real hero would have survived. That's not the story of the Holocaust.

There will be additional performances during Hanukkah as well as next Pesach.


P.S. Tal's bio for the playbook is:
Bitten by a radioactive monkey when she was two years old, Tal Berlinger is now fourteen and has never decided on how to use her super powers. Acting is one of them, along with singing, writing, drawing, dancing, and cooking. She has seven siblings between the ages of nineteen and three months, four parents, and nine grandparents. This is her first time with JEST (or on stage) and she's hiding here to keep away from any other pesky monkeys.
Tal is the only one who shares my sense of humor, which worries some people.

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