• Witness Theater- Intergenerational Drama Therapy

    JDC-ESHEL Witness Theater English Subtitles

    Program

    Eshel’s Witness Theater program is an innovative intergenerational theater program for Holocaust survivors and third generation Israeli high school students. Witness Theater offers a therapeutic process by which Holocaust survivors can come to terms with their past, spreading testimony through the retelling of their stories.

    The program aims to simultaneously provide catharsis for the survivor generation and connect them with their grandchildren’s generation; thus passing on the memory of the Holocaust to a new audience.

    Over the course of a year, the group works together in weekly meetings during which the two generations expose the jarring stories of survival and explore issues of trauma. Through theater workshops, using acting, props, lighting and music, participants young and old undergo a process of transformation. Professionals guide the creative process and encourage free expression by both survivors and students.

    The project culminates in the production of a semi-professional public performance that dramatizes the survivors’ stories – chronicling their memories and personal survival.

    To date more than 1,000 Israeli Holocaust survivors have participated in the program in more than 70 groups throughout Israel. The program has been adopted in both Germany and the United States.

    Outcomes

    • Provide a therapeutic artistic process for survivors
    • Improve survivors' emotional wellbeing and resilience
    • Raise awareness of presence of Holocaust survivors in the community
    • Have the younger generation bear witness to the survivor's stories
    • Create meaningful relationships between the younger generation and survivors

    Contract dates

    2014 -

    Partners

    Ministry of Social Equality, Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, Claims Conference, Testimony Theater Association, local municipal authorities