Two Israelis are leading the way on a new project that is aiming to track down and digitize content on theatre and other performing arts created by Jews during the Nazi era or otherwise related to the Holocaust.
The Holocaust Online Theatre Collection is being spearheaded by Mark Ejlenberg, a Jewish Dutch now living in Israel after a successful banking career in Amsterdam and veteran Israeli theater director and producer Moti Sandak, the project’s director and chief content editor.
Sandak is already in charge of jewish-theatre.com, a website promoting a wide range of Jewish creativity in the theatre arts.
HOTC is sponsored by the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and its official launch is set for Jan. 20 in Berlin. The launch is slated to take place in the House of the Wannsee Conference, the site of the 1942 meeting where the Nazi hierarchy planned the implementation of the “final solution” against the Jews. Today, it is a Holocaust memorial and museum.
Ejlenberg believes that the performing arts during the Holocaust will be a means of communicating to current and future generations in a way that at present is not being fully explored. The site will also preserve the memory of those who continued to express themselves through the arts despite the barbarity they lived through.
Such a collection would show, according to literature about the project, that “creativity and the human spirit cannot be destroyed,” even in the darkest periods.
Major Jewish cultural and Holocaust remembrance organizations around the world are being approached for any contribution of material in their possession.
Cultural works created before, during or after the Holocaust are being considered. People who have plays, music or films, or material such as posters about the performing arts, are being encouraged to contact organizers for inclusion.
“Even a snippet would be helpful,” said Albert Moses of Montreal, one of the project’s organizers.