Support

From: Dr. Haim Shaked, Director

Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies

On behalf of the University of Miami's Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, I want to express my strong support for the creation of a Holocaust Theater Archive (HTA) in association with the National Jewish Theater Foundation (NJTF) directed by its President and Producing Artistic Director Mr. Arnold Mittelman. The Miller Center has been actively exploring a collaborative relationship with the NJTF, to create a permanent home for this important archive at the University of Miami. A more detailed description of the proposed archive including its initial conference, with my own and other endorsements, has been disseminated by Mr. Mittelman and is enclosed herewith.

At present, no comprehensive archive exists of theater materials and productions related to the Holocaust and there is an urgent need to create one before it is too late. The importance of such an archive as a resource for scholars as well as a basis for future theatrical productions cannot be overstated. This archive will certainly complement other Holocaust-related repositories of materials such as survivor testimonies, books, movies, music and artifacts - all already existing or being developed elsewhere.

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From: Dr. Micheal Berenbaum, Director

American Jewish University

I am writing in support of the National Jewish Theater proposal for the creation of an archive on theater related to the Holocaust.

Permit me a word on the creation of archives. In the late 1980s and early 1990 I was the Project Director of the United States Holocaust Museum, overseeing its creation. In that task, we not only built the Museum but also created a series of archives: film and video, oral history, photographs and documentary archives among them. We did not - assuredly mistakenly so - create an archives of theatrical work and performances. I later was President and CEO of the Survivor of the Shoah Visual History Foundation where we took the testimonies of 52,000 Holocaust survivors in 32 languages from 57 countries, amassing the largest visual archives of testimony in the world and a system of video archiving. I learned three very important things: If you build it, they will come, and that archives not only respond to needs but create and expand needs, and that one needs to gather together a significant and representative group of potential users of the archive to help share what it will become.

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From: Theodore Bikel, Actor

I am writing in support of the National Jewish Theater, specifically in reference to its proposed project relating to theatrical activity and memorabilia connected to the holocaust.

While much has been done to document the horrendous events during the darkest period of Jewish history, very little in that vast array of data relates specifically to the theatrical legacy of the holocaust. I believe it is important to remedy this; and the National Jewish Theater is ideally poised to take up the challenge.

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From: Dr. Al Goldfarb, President Emeritus

Western Illinois University

I am very honored to serve on the National Jewish Theater Foundation Holocaust Theater Archive Advisory Board. While there have been various studies of theater during the Holocaust and its representation afterwards, there is still a significant need for a central repository of such works.

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From: David G. Marwell, Ph.D., Museum Director and CEO

Museum of Jewish Heritage

I am writing in support of the National Jewish Theater Foundation's application for supporto fund a major conference on theater and the Holocaust. This subject is of critical importance and fits squarely within the mission of our Museum, and, for these reasons, we are pleased to host the conference in our world-class facility and to serve as fiscal agents for the entire project.

A conference that explores the role of theater during the Holocaust and in interpreting the themes and lessons that have emerged from that dark history has tremendous potential to advance our knowledge. We know that the Holocaust cut short so many lives, but we often lose sight of the vast potential for creativity and achievement that was lost. We know that, even in the context of paralyzingpersecution, creativity found expression in many forms including theahical productions in ghettoes. We know that the Holocaust and the events that surrounded it have been the subject of theatrical productions since the early postwar years. Although we know all of this, there has yet to be a comprehensive, serious examination of the subject.

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From: Stephen D. Smith, Executive Director

Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education

On behalf of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, I am writing today to express support for the forthcoming conference hosted by the National Jewish Theater, which I believe will be unique in scope and of utmost importance in mission.

Established in 1994 by Stephen Spielberg to collect and preserve the testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute maintains one of the largest video digital libraries in the world: nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries.

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