All-female production of Holocaust memoirs

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All-female production of Holocaust memoirs

The Beautiful Days of My Youth includes Holocaust survivor Ana Novac's memoirs of Auschwitz and Plaszow following the deportations of 290,000 Romanian Jews and Roma in 1941

Jewish State Theatre
Jewish State Theatre

A reduced capacity audience at the Jewish State Theatre in the Romanian capital last week saw the debut of a production focused on the memories of Holocaust survivor Ana Novac, performed by an all-female cast.

‘The Beautiful Days of My Youth’ includes Novac’s memoirs of Auschwitz and Plaszow following the deportations of 290,000 Romanian Jews and Roma in 1941, performed as part the National Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations.

The country’s Jewish population today stands at 6,000, down from a pre-war 800,000, and representatives were among the theatre’s audience, which took up less than a third of the auditorium due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Maia Morgenstern, the Jewish actress who played ‘Mary’ in Mel Gibson’s controversial 2004 film ‘Passion of the Christ,’ now heads the Jewish State Theatre, and brought in Liana Ceterchi to direct.

Novac, who grew up in Transylvania, was a teenage diarist often compared to Anne Frank. Aged 14 when she was deported, she survived the camps and published her journals in 1966, seeing them later translated into several languages.

“Each one of us is a facet of Ana Novac’s soul and memory,” said Morgenstern. “We are bearers of scars from wounds that are not directly ours, but still we carry them.”

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