Masquers to Present Realistic Play "Kindertransport"

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Fairmont State University Masquers theatre group will commence the 2010-2011 academic year with a production of "Kindertransport," a play by Diane Samuels, which portrays the life of a German-Jewish refugee child in England during and after World War II. This production of "Kindertransport" will be under the direction of Jeffrey Ingman.

"Kinderstransport" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24, 25 and 30 and Oct. 1 and 2 and at 2 p.m. Sept. 26 in Wallman Hall Theatre. To order tickets, visit the Box Office inside the main entrance at Wallman Hall or call (304) 367-4240. Tickets are $10. This play is appropriate for those ages 14 and older.

Cast members include Lydia Mong as Evelyn, Phyl Charnes as Lil, Morgan Davis as Eva, Samantha Huffman as Faith, Elizabeth Huff as Helga and Bruce McGlumphy as The Ratcatcher.

The kinderstransport saga began in Nazi-controlled Germany on the night of November 9-10, 1938, a night which became known as Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass," when 30,000 Jewish males were rounded up, arrested and deported to concentration camps. More than a thousand synagogues across Germany and Austria were looted and burned.   

Immediately after this event, an urgent appeal went out to the nations of the world to open their doors to Germany's Jewish children, in order to save them from the imminent threat of deportation to the camps. One by one, these nations turned a deaf ear to such pleas, including the United States, where pro-isolationist and anti-immigration forces in the U.S. Senate killed a bill that would have granted refuge to 20,000 Jewish children. 

Of all the nations that were asked to accept refugee children, only Britain did so, and did so with remarkable efficiency. Within a few weeks, beginning on Dec. 2, 1938, trains were rolling out of Germany filled with Jewish children. Just nine months later, on Sept. 3, 1939, war was declared and the railroads were shut down. During this short period, nearly 10,000 Jewish children were received safely into England and distributed among private foster families, orphanages, hostels and farms throughout England, Wales, Scotland and northern Ireland.

As for the Jewish parents left behind in Germany, despite continued efforts to get them out, or to locate them after the war, it is estimated that some 90 percent of them perished in the death camps.

Although the play "Kindertransport" is a work of fiction, it is based on extensive historical research and on the lives of several actual kindertransport children.

Bruce McGlumphy and Morgan Davis

Morgan Davis and Elizabeth Huff

Samantha Huffman and Lydia Mong

Phyl Charnes and Morgan Davis