On Sunday, October 13, Acting Out, CenterStage’s professional children’s theater company, presented a public performance of And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank in the Jewish Community Center’s auditorium. The audience included many students from the Louisville Hebrew School and the High School of Jewish Studies.
The play, by James Still, presents the story surrounding Anne Frank, her family and two childhood friends, Ed Silverberg and Eva Schloss. Part documentary and part theater, the play provides a window into this dark period of our history in a format designed to engage teens and adults.
Larry Singer as Ed Silverberg ties things together and provides perspective as the play takes the audience from a Hitler Youth gathering through Kristallnacht and into the throes of the Holocaust, often recounting events as things that happen to themselves, avoiding portrayals of the brutality and horror.
And Then They Came for Me succeeds in conveying the gravity and the scope of the events without overburdening its young audience. The entire cast should be commended.
Following the performance, Holocaust survivors John and Reneé Rothschild, who now call Louisville home, told of their personal ordeal. Theirs is a love story overlaid on the Nazi persecution. Reneé fled from Germany to France, only to be pursued and arrested by the Nazi collaborators in the Vichy government in 1942. She managed to get word to John, a Swiss citizen, and he succeeded in rescuing her.
The Rothschilds’ full story was published in Community in April and is available on www.jewishlouisville.org.
There will be another public performance at the JCC on Sunday, December 15, at 12:30. The Acting Out company is also presenting And Then They Came for Me at schools across the region.