Featured, News

Theater catalog captures Holocaust history for future

Eugene Rothman, associate director for academic development at the Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, speaks at the launch of the digital Holocaust Theater Catalog held at the Cosford Cinema on Tuesday. Amy Sargeant // Contributing Photographer

Eugene Rothman, associate director for academic development at the Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, speaks at the launch of the digital Holocaust Theater Catalog held at the Cosford Cinema on Tuesday. Amy Sargeant // Contributing Photographer

Actors in theater embody intangible ideas, like love or death, and make them feel inexplicably real or even personal. Such is how Holocaust history will live on once the survivors are gone.

An audience gathered Tuesday evening at the Cosford Cinema to witness the launch of the Holocaust Theater Catalog, an online database dedicated to collecting Holocaust-related theater works. It can be accessed by anyone at any time through the Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies’ website.

The endeavor is the first of its kind. The realm of Holocaust-related works and efforts lacked a theater-specific approach.

“This project fills in a very important gap in the spectrum of materials about the Holocaust,” Miller Center Director Haim Shaked said. “Perhaps the most interesting and important attribute of the catalog is that it’s unique. There’s no such thing.”

During the launch, Shaked gave introductory remarks that  were followed by a screening of the play “The Soap Myth,” written by playwright Jeff Cohen and directed by Arnold Mittelman. The play questions who has the right to write history – those who experience it, those who study it or those who seek to distort it.

According to Shaked, the catalog features plays from all over the world. It includes information about a play’s author, who performed it, who currently holds the rights and more.

The plays themselves are not on the website, but users can contact whoever holds the play’s rights for further information on acquiring the plays. Currently, most featured plays are in English or Hebrew, but plans for expansion are in the works.

“We plan at a later stage to add materials in all other relevant languages, whether it’s Polish, Russian, German, Hungarian. You name it,” Shaked said.

As the curtains pulled back from the cinema screen, Mittelman, founder and director of the National Jewish Theater Foundation, also took the stage to introduce the product of a four-year effort by him and the Holocaust Theater International Initiative. He walked the audience through the website’s collection of plays and reference material.

“[The catalog] goes back to 1933 just before the war, including, miraculously, work that was done in the camps and in the ghettos in defiance of the Nazis,” Mittelman said. “This is, to my mind, the most complete collection of reference books that have been discovered that are focused on one subject: Holocaust-related theater.”

With more than 30 years of theatrical achievement under his belt, Mittelman believes that performances, rather than just lectures, help students better understand the gravity of the Holocaust and the lives of everyone involved. He hopes the catalog encourages others to produce the listed plays and further the Holocaust’s remembrance.

“‘The Soap Myth’ was a way to bring the catalog to life,” Mittelman said. “We need to teach the Holocaust through these techniques because they speak to this generation. We’re counting on younger generations to carry on these stories.”

Mittelman sometimes teaches a Holocaust-related theater class at the University of Miami. His classes included students from every collegiate year and cultural background. Yet, according to Mittelman, each student found a way to tie the Holocaust’s events to the struggles of their own heritage.

Senior Sam Lubman said the event was enlightening.

“Just any way to get the message out there about what happened is a good way to not dwell on it, but honor it,” he said.

October 8, 2014

Reporters

Sherman Hewitt


Around the Web
  • Error
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

RSS Error: WP HTTP Error: fsocket timed out

Seniors Emily Gossett, Millie Chokshi, and Jason Kaplan are eager to implement their platform throug ...

Follow the sights and sounds of the pregame festivities in Orlando leading up to Saturday’s big game ...

A team of researchers created the first mapping model of its kind to track how hate spreads and adap ...

University of Miami professors who study water treatment and civil engineering say that water contam ...

University of Miami experts in health geography, law, and public health weigh in on some of the issu ...

The Hurricanes take center stage Saturday as the nation begins celebrating college football's 1 ...

Head coach Manny Diaz and The New Miami will make their debut against an old rival, facing No. 8 Flo ...

Freshman midfielder Ine Østmo joined the Hurricanes in January as an early enrolee from Mandal, Norw ...

Senior linebackers Shaquille Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud have already made history ...

UM women's soccer opened its 2019 campaign by blowing past UTRGV, 4-0. ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.