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"To Tell, in Order to Live"

Testimony Theater - an inter-generational encounter of first, second and third generation Holocaust survivors in an educational-therapeutic project.

The Rationale - Goals, Aims and Work Methods

The goals and importance of the project:

The multi-generational interaction leads to a prospect of closeness, co-operation and outreach between teenagers, Holocaust survivors and their offspring.
Through the group process, the second generation Holocaust survivors find a way, possibly for the first time, to cope with the complexity of the burden carried since childhood (Second Generation Syndrome).
The encounter generates a warm, familiar environment, and forms a basis for fruitful cooperation. The adults achieve a sense of security, openness and joy. The younger participants become the "torch bearers".
The event - the end result - bestows upon the young and elderly alike an experience rich in cultural and educational values.

Goals of the project

1. To support and treat the first and second generations and to bequeath the legacy of the Holocaust to the third generation - the youths through experience.
2. To train the participants to be capable of a "production" and an event which will be a moving experience, and as up-close and personal as possible. This is done through the personal stories of the first-generation Holocaust survivors, which will be performed by the youth of the third generation.


The stories of survival, rescue and revival of the Holocaust survivors are reproduced in co-operation with the third generation survivors: survivors' grandchildren or Junior High School students, through dynamic and creative weekly meetings, which allow all participants to express their thoughts and feelings. Each and every one chooses his or her own way to tell the story, aided by the tools given to them during the workshop.

Target Population

Elderly Holocaust Survivors, their children and grandchildren, as well as 8th, 9th and 10th grade students.

The Work Process

In their attempt to heal the trauma through expression and artistic creativity, Irit and Ezra Dagan, both actors and teachers, Irit an art and drama therapist, lead this dynamic workshop with careful sensitivity. The pupils accompany the Holocaust Survivors on their journey and become partners through listening, a drama-therapeutic experience, improvisation, role-playing and various other theatrical methods.

The Process Is No Less Important than the End Result

The personal and sensitive guidance of the group is important in order not to interfere in the present and future lives of the participants in any way.
Dr. Ts'via Zeligman, a clinical psychologist and drama therapist accompanies the workshop every step of the way. She is the Head of the Trauma Center in "Ichilov" Hospital in Tel Aviv. Her guidance enables the safe, sensitive but at the same time intensive leading of the group.

Even though none of the participants has any acting experience, or any ambition towards it, the theatrical event has to be professional, with all the support of the stage: costumes, accessories, lighting, music, sound and video.

The Vision

Unfortunately, most of the Holocaust Survivors who were children/youth during the war are now elderly, in their 70's and 80's. We see, in the continuation of this project an important mission, to allow those "who did not speak" to speak and to tell first hand the stories of their survival and rescue, and to endure their pain and loss, and the youngsters become the "torch bearers" who will pass this legacy onto the future generations.