Published by Remember the Women Institute
by Rochelle G. Saidel
Remember the Women Institute published in April 2015 an online Women, Theatre, and the Holocaust Resource Handbook, available as a free downloadable PDF accessible from the website, www.rememberwomen.org. This handbook is one of the Institute’s projects dedicated to giving women their place in Holocaust history.
The 68-page Women, Theatre, and the Holocaust Resource Handbook has bibliographies with annotated hyperlinked descriptions of plays about women and the Holocaust, plays about the Holocaust by women, and related books. The plays listed range from those actually written during the Holocaust, some within concentration camps, to those being scripted and performed today. The handbook was written by Remember the Women Institute’s founder and executive director Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel and educational consultant Karen Shulman. There is an introduction by Dr. Saidel that provides details about the topic of women, theatre, and the Holocaust. There is also an essay by Dr. Meghan Brodie, University of Southern Maine, about her experience staging In the Underworld, an English-language version of a play written in Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp in 1944 by French political prisoner Germaine Tillion. The resource handbook also includes a study guide for educators designed by Ms. Shulman as a tool for teaching about the Holocaust through theatre. The information in the handbook, which will be updated and augmented, will also be available on the website of National Jewish Theater Foundation Holocaust Theater Catalog (htc.miami.edu). Remember the Women Institute welcomes suggestions for additions to updated versions of the handbook, to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Women, Theatre, and the Holocaust Resource Handbook was launched on April 13, at an event presented by Remember the Women Institute and American Jewish Historical Society at the Center for Jewish History, New York City. In addition to a demonstration of the handbook, the program featured dramatic presentations from In the Underworld, directed by Meghan Brodie; and Gretel Bergmann and “Wild Wind Blows” from Silence Not, A Love Story, written by Cynthia Cooper. Professional actors Stacey Linnartz and Lynn N. Silver and singer Lily Davis performed, with musical direction and accompaniment by Jonathan Marro.
The evening concluded with a discussion on women, theatre, and the Holocaust by Rachel Lithgow, Executive Director, American Jewish Historical Society; Dr. Brodie, Assistant Professor of Theatre, University of Southern Maine; playwright Cynthia Cooper; Dr. Sonja M. Hedgepeth, Professor, Holocaust Studies, Women’s Studies, Language and Literature, Middle Tennessee State University; and Dr. Saidel. See a related news story.
Launched in May 2016, a second edition of the handbook is now available online.