note from Playwright Jeffrey Sanzel
From The Fires has been a passionate labor
and a personal odyssey. I was brought up in a community with a
large Jewish population and my exposure to the subject was very
important in my upbringing. In our community were many survivors,
most of who were reluctant to speak about their experiences. As
one said to me, "It is not for me to remember--it is for you to
remember." I have remembered and will continue to carry that statement
with me for as long as I live.
In taking on this project, I had many fears... Who am I to
write about the Holocaust? Does someone who was not there have
the right to take on this task? Can someone who has not suffered
write of these things? These questions plagued me and many
times threatened to stop the project. The final force which drove
me to continue and finally finish the work was the horrifying
alternative: Silence. With that, I realized that we must all do
our part. In many ways, Primo Levi's poem, Shema, speaks
who love secure
In your warm houses,
Who return at evening to find
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider whether this is a man,
Who labours in mud
Who knows no peace
Who fights for a crust of bread
Who dies at a yes or a no.
Consider whether this
is a woman,
Without hair or name
With no more strength
Eyes empty and womb cold
As a frog in winter
Consider that this has been:
I commend these words to you.
Engrave them on your hearts
When you are in your house,
when you walk on your way,
When you go to bed,
when you rise.
Repeat them to your children.
Or may your house crumble,
Disease render you powerless,
Your offspring avert their faces
hope From The Fires will be a small contribution to keep
alive the memory of this tragic moment in history. Dedicated to
the the millions upon millions of victims--both living and dead.