Press

DIVIDED LIVES


Feb 19, 2003
Contemporary American Theatre Co.

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: February 19, 2003
Contact: Thomas L. Stephens, Director of Education
(614) 461-1382 extension 130 (phone) / (614) 461-4917 (fax)
stephens@catco.org

BEYOND THE STAGE: EXPLORING KINDERTRANSPORT, A FREE PUBLIC FORUM

Columbus - Join the Contemporary American Theatre Company (CATCO) and the Leo Yassenoff Jewish Community Center on Tuesday, March 11, 2003 at 7:30 p.m. for an evening of short presentations by a panel of scholars and humanists about Kindertransport, the little-known British effort during World War II, and the emotionally-charged drama by Diane Samuels of the same name, running February 23 through March 30 at CATCO. Following the panel's presentations audience members will be given the opportunity to exchange dialogue and pose their questions to the panelists. Panel presenters will include: Kindertransport survivor Felix Weil from Dayton; Dr. Cynthia Crane, author of Divided Lives: The Untold Stories of Jewish-Christian Women in Nazi Germany as well as a recognized scholar on the subject of the Holocaust from the University of Cincinnati; and CATCO's production dramaturg for Diane Samuel's Kindertransport, Chiquita Mullins Lee from The Ohio State University. Ms. Mullins Lee will also serve as a discussion facilitator and moderator for the evening. The March 11th event will be held at the Leo Yassenoff Jewish Community Center located at 1125 College Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. Admission is FREE, but seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Additional information about the event can be obtained by calling (614) 461-1382 extension 130 or by e-mail at education@catco.org.

Beyond the Stage: Exploring Kindertransport is a humanities program collaboration between CATCO's Education and Outreach Program and the Leo Yassenoff Jewish Community Center. Among the issues to be discussed on March 11, 2003 will be the actual Kindertransport effort, forced culture and identity changes in history, as well as cultural and experiential influences on mother/daughter relationships. The topics for discussion will be taken from Diane Samuels' play Kindertransport inspired by the British effort which saved the lives of over 10,000 Jewish-German children during World War II.

The play Kindertransport is the poignant story of seven-year-old Eva Schlesinger who, in 1938, was put aboard a train with other Jewish children and evacuated from Nazi Germany. Torn between her Jewish-German heritage and her desire to wipe the "Kindertransport" experience from her memory, Eva strives to become "English", like the British woman who adopted her. Based upon autobiographic accounts from Kindertransport children, the play focuses on Eva at four points in her life. The audience witnesses the rainbow of emotions encountered by Eva burdened by the painful past which was chosen for her, her own fears, and the secrecy that threatens her and her daughter's relationship. Contact CATCO's Box Office at (614) 461-0010 for more information about the production.

Included on the list of panelists for March 11th will be Dr. Cynthia Crane, author of Divided Lives: The Untold Stories of Jewish-Christian Women in Nazi Germany. A book inspired by the experiences of the author's paternal family, Divided Lives&ldots; tells the dramatic, but true stories of women who endured persecution because of their mixed religious heritage. The book draws the reader's attention to the often ignored fact that most attention on the Holocaust, although rightfully, focuses on the plight of Jews in concentration camps. However, not all victims of Nazi persecution were put to death. Many survived, lost in a social and political limbo, shunned by friends, neighbors, and oftentimes family because of their "mixed" religious heritage. Hundreds of thousands of Mischling, ("half-breed") children found themselves socially isolated because a parent or grandparent was Jewish. Dr. Crane holds a Ph.D. and in addition to literary career serves as an assistant professor of English at the University of Cincinnati's Raymond Walters College. Copies of Dr. Crane's book will be available for purchase.

In addition to Dr. Crane, Mr. Felix Weil, a kindertransport survivor, will be on hand to share personal accounts of his childhood. Currently, Mr. Weil works as a moderator for the University of Dayton's Institute for Lifelong Learning (UDILR). He is best known for his presentation The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. At the age of 11, Mr. Weil became one of the over 10,000 children in the Kindertransport program. He was smuggled out of Frankfurt, Germany and shuttled to Great Britain without his birth parents and sister. Mr. Weil lived in Britain during the war and came to the U.S. in 1945. He moved to Dayton after graduating from Kent State University and represented publishers of graphic arts works in the U.S and European. The U.S. Air Force Museum has recognized Mr. Weil on countless occasions for his volunteer work. So much so, that the Museum awarded him the coveted Angel Award. For the Air Force Museum, Mr. Weil conducts tours through Prejudice and Memory: A Holocaust Exhibit.

Also, contributing to the panel discussion will be the program facilitator Ms. Chiquita Mullins Lee. Professionally, Ms. Mullins Lee coordinates communications for The Ohio State University Libraries. She has holds degrees from Vassar College, Ohio University, and the Ohio State University. A respected community leader, Ms. Mullins Lee has also worked as a television producer, director, programmer, and writer. Her plays include A Gift from God, and To Hear Ruby Sing. She received Creative Writing Fellowships in Fiction from the Greater Columbus Arts Council and the Ohio Arts Council. Since 1995, Ms. Mullins Lee has contributed to the realization of several CATCO main stage productions through her dramaturgical research. The list of play titles is impressive including August Wilson's Two Trains Running, Rebecca Gilman's Spinning Into Butter, and, currently, Diane Samuel's Kindertransport.

The event will be held at the Leo Yassenoff Jewish Community Center located at 1125 College Avenue in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, March 11, 2003 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE, but seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations will not be taken. Questions about the event should be directed to CATCO's Director of Education Thomas Stephens by telephone (614) 461-1382 extension 130, by fax (614) 461-4917, or by e-mail at education@catco.org. This community education program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Columbus Jewish Foundation.

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