I am not a Holocaust Survivor…

Posted on January 13, 2011

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There’s always so much to share. So much to conjure up into a story rich with inspiration and reflection. Today I find a deeper purpose in my writing…

At the moment if you were to visit me you’d find me in my modest apartment working on my script for Anne Frank and Me. This is the current play we are rehearsing for at the Orlando Repertory Theatre. The show opens on January 29th and the process to prepare, led by our Director and Stage manager, has already started to change my life.

Thinking back, 2010 was filled with so many great moments, but already this year has me busy with acting adventures. First there was a callback for a commercial and then a few auditions for a feature length film and a TV sitcom. While those never promise too much in the long run they certainly serve as a great workout and exposure to the big players in the industry. But there’s something greater amidst…something beyond the trials of a rookie working actor:

There is no doubt that right now my focus lies on this play about the Holocaust. It’s a story about Holocaust deniers and what it might take for them to eat their words. It’s a story about family and the horror that the Holocaust brought upon so many during World War II.

We are slowly working to become legit messengers of this tale. And soon we will be ready…

Yesterday a lovely lady came to visit us, a Holocaust survivor, named Helen Greenspun and until I know for sure that I can disclose details from her story I will simply say this:

Parents: embrace your children and tell you love them for so many were ripped from their side and onto trucks never to be seen again.

Husbands: Hold your wife a little longer and be thankful you can feel her heartbeat yet again.

Wives/Mothers: laugh a little longer at the mess your boys, including your husband, leave behind, you never want to know the absence of theirs piles of mess, the absence of their goofiness.

Siblings: argue no more and find common ground, go out for coffee or a beer if you’re old enough. If you’re the oldest, take out the youngest to the park…share a moment in peace where the fresh air of joy and a fair game of tag exhilarate your day.

Everyone: find joy in the fact you have privacy in a sanitary bathroom, and even the cold nights in your cozy bed.

I beseech you to consider that hell on earth has not hit you, not like in those horrible days in 1942 Poland…
and if you feel like it has, if indeed you find yourself in a hellish loneliness and a wretched state of darkness where you can’t go on. Take a walk and let someone see you, plead for help…someone will listen.

However, most of us are in the position to be the listener, to be the rescuer, the friend that will lend an ear. Will we respond? will we listen?
And then, if we do, we are held accountable to live better, glow brighter and change the world by allowing our work to speak for itself. Are you ready for that?

Today I dove into the nightmares of those that walked on ashes and hid Jews hoping their stealth action stood for what was right, even if it cost them their lives. But the stories are complex and the reaction not so simple.

For now, I will prepare for my play…I will find my way to keep Helen’s story alive.

What have you done? What will you do?

As Helen left through the theatre lobby, after her visit, I had to follow and thank her for speaking,

“Excuse me… I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story with me today, you truly changed my life. I know so many choose not to speak but you did, you shared your story.”

At this, she raised her wise finger at me and with merciful loving blue eyes she said, “it’s not that they choose not to speak, they simply can’t”

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