Welcome

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Hello and welcome to the webpage for the KINDERTRANSPORT PROJECT at Pompano Beach High School. This website is a work in progress documenting the activities conducted and discoveries made throughout our high schools’s Witness Theatre involvement.

Witness Theater was developed by ESHEL, an Israeli elder-services agency under the auspices of the American-based Joint Distribution Committee.  The program matches high school students with Holocaust survivors to share the life stories that form the foundation of an extraordinary theatre piece.  It has been implemented more than 20 times in Israel.  Witness Theater had its US premier in 2009 with five Jewish teens and twelve survivors under the direction of Avi Hoffman.  In its second year, Witness Theater debuts in a Broward County Public High School under the direction of a drama teacher, a World History teacher and 30 striving readers, none of whom are Jewish.

The survivors are collectively known as the “Kindertransport”, a group of 10,000 European Jewish children who, starting in 1939, were taken to train stations by their parents and ultimately sent to England, in the hopes that they would escape  persecution  and  horrors of the Holocaust. In most cases, children and parents never saw each other again. This was the ultimate act of love and sacrifice.

The “Kinder”, as the survivors are affectionately known, are the tellers of their stories and the students record and play back their experiences though drama activity such as tableaux and improvisational scenes.  The students learn from the Kinder important life lessons; and the Kinder learn from the students: where they come from, their backgrounds, and their hopes and dreams for the future.  Walls that might have existed between these two generations are torn down and new friends are made.

This project is not only about the older generation telling the younger about the past…it is about two different generations teaching each other in the present.  The older adults pass along valuable lessons that will enable the young people to better navigate the challenges of our present world.  The young people show the older adults new perspectives on their history and different ways of being with their own children.

The culmination of this project was a public performance that highlighted the stories of these survivors…performed together with their new friends, the students. It is a program of mutual discovery, understanding and respect.
Watch the movie above, which was recorded on April 15, 2010 at Pompano Beach High School.