ROSWELL, Ga. — A multi-media performance depicting the hidden children of the Holocaust is coming to Roswell.
“And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank” will play on Tuesday, March 5 at 7 p.m. at the Georgia Ensemble Theatre on 950 Forrest St. in Roswell. The play follows two childhood friends of Anne Frank, Eva Schloss and Ed Silverberg, who recount their authentic stories of survival in video interviews while professional actors portray them as teenagers on stage. The production has been presented annually for 22 consecutive years by the Georgia Ensemble Theatre.
One of the most striking parts of the show is its level of intimacy with the audience, said director Erin Bushko Smith.
“After each performance, we have a talkback with the audience — a chance to ask questions, share stories and learn together,” Smith said. “That personal time is very revealing. We have had audience members share their own story of survival. They feel it is a safe and appropriate place to finally speak. Eva’s story is incredible. She is still an incredible woman, travelling the world to share her life and experience. That gives people strength and hope and courage.”
The play travels between several different locations and settings, including a large theatre, classroom, gymnasium and library corner. Video interviews with Schloss and Silverberg play interspersed throughout the story.
“For me, being able to see how they still react to remembering those experiences is life changing,” Smith said. “The things that were painful, things that brought them joy — it is a true human moment. These were and are real people who actually lived through these events. History brought to life through the survivors. It’s incredible.”
Several historical photos are also used throughout the performance to set scenes.
“Much of the show is about moving or being moved quickly,” Smith said. “I feel like the videos and photos help relate that very well.”
The play is also taken on tour to several local schools and is generally geared toward middle school students. The team connects with teachers, principals and parents to find ways to integrate the material into what students are already learning about the time period, Smith said.
“This way, they are hearing the material from many different perspectives in many different ways,” Smith said. “We hope this helps to engage the children, whatever their learning style.”
For many of the children, and even some teachers and parents, “And Then They Came for Me” is one of the first times they’ve interacted with any sort of Holocaust story in depth, Smith said.
“This might be their first exposure to any type of theatrical experience, or even their first exposure to the Holocaust and the personal stories of survival,” he added. “We are honored to be that part of their life… I hope that building a generation of kids who cares, starting at an early age, one-on-one with each other, they will grow into adults who can treat the world in the same way.”
Tickets for the show are $10 each and can be purchased at get.org.