“The Holocaust Theater International Initiative, of the National Jewish Theater Foundation, is an important, indeed necessary, addition to the resources available to educators and scholars of the Holocaust and to the theater community. There is no other comprehensive program devoted to this subject in existence.”
– Dr. William Shulman, President
Association of Holocaust Organizations
Since 2007, the National Jewish Theater Foundation (NJTF), Arnold Mittelman, President and Producing Artistic Director has presented theatrical works that celebrate the richness of Jewish heritage and culture in an effort to educate the public on Jewish content and themes. It is their commitment to celebrating Jewish history and artistry that has inspired the leadership and renowned Advisory Board of NJTF in 2010 to launch its Holocaust Theater International Initiative (HTI) that examines how one of the greatest catastrophes in Jewish and World history has been made more understandable through the insights, creativity and courage of Jewish artists and others of differing backgrounds.
The NJTF/HTI grew out of a series of conferences and a major program grant funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and private donors. Developed by more than 50 nationally recognized Holocaust scholars, archivists and theater artists, it has three components:
(1) Holocaust Theater Catalog (HTC): the digital catalog in the form of a website containing plays from 1933 to the present that has user specific informative entries and is Intended for students, scholars, theater artists, teachers and the general public. This growing catalog of over 750 titles is publicly accessible and housed on line at the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami.
(2) Holocaust Theater Education (HTE): the development of curricula, materials, techniques and workshops for the primary, secondary and higher education levels. HTI/HTE has collaborative agreements with the USC Shoah Foundation IWitness program and Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO) as well as other strategic partners that provide international education outreach.
(3) Holocaust Theater Production (HTP): the promotion and facilitation of an increased number of live domestic and international productions, that includes theater works to be recorded for digital access. HTI/HTP acclaimed production The Soap Myth was filmed and is distributed internationally by London based Digital Theatre and American PBS. Most new work will be for family audiences.
The NJTF/IHTI by virtue of its 3 components, renowned Advisory Board, staff, supporters and partners endeavors to fill an existing void and provides a critically needed entryway to the intersection of Holocaust scholarship, education and theater arts. Through the use of both technology and live performance, it will bring together diverse communities to engage on issues pertaining to the Holocaust at a time when our first and immediate connection to these atrocities, the ultimate witness, the living survivors, are quickly disappearing.