September 30 – October 1 at 8 pm
Matthews Acting Studio / 185 Nassau Street
Duration: 80 minutes
with English subtitles
Tickets are free but must be reserved — click here to RSVP.
The last memory of the camps is the Jewish memory, for the simple reason that there were deported children.
— Jorge Semprùn, extract from Une tombe au creux des nuages
April 19, 2013 marked the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, after which it was destroyed.
Today in France, there are barely ten individuals still alive who lived in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Paul Felenbok is one of these survivors. He was 7 years old in April 1943. His parents were taken away during one of those many changes of hiding places to which the Jews of Poland were subjected, then were deported and murdered a short time later. Paul survived, and after having lived in a children’s home in Helenuwek, near Lodz, his elder brother managed to send him to France where he grew up in the homes of “Union des Juifs pour la Résistance et l’Ent’raide” and then started a family and took up a scientific career.
Paul Felenbok is now 77. He is living in Clamart with his wife Betty. He has two daughters and five grandchildren. He is a retired astrophysicist.
His cousin Wlodka Blit-Robertson’s story began in the Warsaw Ghetto, as well. Shortly before the uprising, she managed to escape with her twin sister Nelly by climbing a ladder over the surrounding wall. She was 12. Her father, connected to the Bund, the Jewish Socialist Organization, had already reached Russia. Her mother remained in the Ghetto to look after the rest of the family and was killed by the Nazis. Wlodka, separated from her sister, remained hidden until the end of the war in the homes of Polish peasants until she could join her father again in London. Today, she is still living there with her husband and three children.
Paul Felenbok and Wlodka Blit-Robertson are the living witnesses to this story. Their testimony, of two children during the war and then the reconstruction of their lives in post-war Europe, was transmitted through conversations. Their memories, through force of circumstance, remain extraordinarily precise and accurate. We decided to let their crossed testimonies be heard, to bring them on the scene, in a device relieved of any spectacular effect, any staging, or any melodrama.
Two actors, a man and a woman, one questioning, and the other one answering, one after the other.
It will be theatre, because the witnesses’ words will be carried by actors, but a theatre-document, without any rewriting nor artifice, a theatre very close to the testimony.