Kristallnacht community event, Sunday, Nov. 8


Each year, the Holocaust Center sponsors a community program in remembrance of Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass”. It commemorates the night of Nov. 9-10, 1939, when Nazi-led crowds savagely attacked Jewish homes, businesses and places of worship—a night that many scholars identify as the beginning of Hitler’s Final Solution.

This year’s program will be the drama Kindertransport by Diana Samuels, produced by The Theater at the J at the Roth Jewish Community Center of Orlando in partnership with the Holocaust Center. The performance is sponsored in part by grants from the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando, United Arts of Central Florida, and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

The play, based on interviews with Holocaust Survivors who were part of that great child rescue effort, deals with the life of one such child. Moving back and forth in time and memory, her story unfolds on stage. Over time, young Eva becomes the mother of a grown daughter, who unexpectedly finds evidence of her mother’s secret history.

The discovery is a painful one for all involved. It raises questions about the lasting effects of trauma, and especially the impact of wartime on children.

Kerry Giese, managing director of Theater at the J, is directing the drama. He says that the message of Kindertransport is clear. “We want people to think about these characters on the way home. We want them to see the clear connection between the lessons of the Holocaust and the events in today’s news. We want them to see these characters as representing every family that has to make very difficult choices. It’s not just a play about the Holocaust... it’s a play about identity, and memory, and all those things that make us human.”

The performance is Sunday afternoon, Nov. 8, at the Harriett and Hy Lake Auditorium at the JCC, 851 N. Maitland Ave. Because of a high demand for tickets, the 4 p.m. performance is nearly filled. A 1p.m. performance has been added, and seats are available for that time. There is no cost to attend, but reservations are required. Reservations can be made at

The weekend of the performance, the Roth Family JCC will be exhibiting select piece of the Holocaust Center’s Kristallnacht exhibit in its lobby. The works of artists Faith Cotter, Gigi Croom, Ephah Orah and Judith Segall will be featured.


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