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From the Fires

written and directed by Jeffrey E. Sanzel

Elizabeth Bernagozzi   Frank D'Ambrosia
Brent Erlanson   Moira Murphy   Anne Perlstein
and Jeffrey Sanzel



A 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 to this:

You 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
      to remember
   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
      from you.
I 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.

Never again.




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