A Play Teaching the Holocaust, Tolerance, and Courage

Written by Wendy Kout


This one-hour play, commissioned by CenterStage Theatre and the Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester and written by Wendy Kout, teaches the chronological history of the Holocaust by enacting the actual experiences of Jewish children and teenagers from Europe.  Actors portray the Survivors and take us on a perilous journey from innocence through the terrifying rise and rule of bigotry, xenophobia, and violence to the triumph of immigrating to America. 

Though the play is about the past, it is relevant and resonant for the present and future.  The Survivors inspire us to face today’s personal and worldly challenges, hardships and horrors through resilience, perseverance, hope, humor, compassion and community. The Survivors also remind us that we must always speak up against hatred, that we can never take our democracy for granted, and we must always fight to maintain our dignity and our freedom.

Never Forget! Never Again! Never is Now!

June 1, 2017, Ralph Meranto, Artistic Director/Producer of CenterStage Theatre in Rochester, NY, commissioned Wendy Kout to write Survivors, a Holocaust-teaching play to tour local schools.  The next month in Charlottesville, Neo-Nazis murdered one, injured others and marched with tiki torches chanting, “The Jews will not replace us!”

Survivors is not just a history play.  It is a warning play.  Today, antisemitism, religious hate, racism, hate based on sexual orientation, and hate crimes continue to rise in the world and online.  How do we fight the normalization of antisemitism and hatred against marginalized peoples?

Why Holocaust Education is Important

We learn from history or history repeats itself. Each generation must learn from the past to assure a better present and better future. Holocaust education is not required in most states. Generations are growing up never hearing of the Holocaust or learning from it.   

The New York Times reports a recent survey finds the Holocaust is fading from memory. The study also finds “all students should learn about the Holocaust at school”.

Why This Play?

Holocaust education teaches history. However, the personal stories of the victims and the survivors humanizes that history for students of all ages. Through the years, thousands have been greatly impacted by meeting survivors and hearing their stories in schools and museums. But as time passes, so do the survivors. Fortunately, their stories can still educate through recorded testimonies, books, articles, exhibits, films and plays.

The play, Survivors, is an hour long, educational and inspiring drama, which enacts the story of the Holocaust through eye-witness testimony of ten survivors. Young and diverse audiences relate to the young and diverse cast, who are guides on the perilous journey of their ever-changing world. The survivors in the play also provide life lessons and encouragement to speak up and act up against hatred and bullying today. Suitable for young adult and adult audiences, this play about the past is a warning and a wakeup call for the present and the future.


Survivor Profiles

Eva (Vezer) Abrams

Survived Auschwitz and the Death March

Erich + Ellen (Lewinsky) Arndt

Survived by hiding in Berlin

Arthur Herz

Survived by leaving Germany and Italy

Evie (Schuerman) Jacobson

Survived by taking Kindertransport to Britain

Helen (Przysuskier) Levinson

Survived by posing as Christian

Rosemarie (Marienthal) Molser

Survived by posing as a nun and marrying her pen pal in Africa

Henry Silberstern

Survived Terizin and Birkenau

Carl Voldman

Survived by hiding in Poland

Kurt Weinbach

Survived by leaving Austria for China

Survivors was developed with support from the The William & Sheila Konar Foundation with additional support provided by the Cornell Weinstein Family Foundation, the Zachor Holocaust Remembrance Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, The Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, ESL Charitable Foundation, and many individual donors. 

Special thanks to Bonnie Abrams, Barbara Appelbaum, Joy Getnick, the Rochester Holocaust Survivors Archive, and the families of our Survivors for their assistance creating the play.

Contact us:
[email protected]    
(585) 461-2000 x243

Follow SURVIVORS on Facebook

Copyright 2023

SMARTSite by Site Hub