April 20, 2024
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TABC Holocaust Studies Class Culminates in Bare Witness Production

On Thursday evening, June 2, a year long interdisciplinary learning project of the TABC 12th grade Holocaust Studies class taught by Cary Reichardt and Rebecca Lopkin, culminated with the premier of Bare Witness 2022. This year’s production was unique in that it was a multimedia event, part film and part live theater. The Bare Witness Project bridges the gap between a typical history class and a dramatic production. In addition to learning about the history of the Holocaust, racism, genocide and World War II, students met with four Holocaust survivors, listened to their experiences and had the opportunity to ask their own questions of the survivor as well. For all students, interacting with survivors always has the greatest impact. Students own their learning; It’s personal and it becomes a part of who they are. Acting and playwriting workshops were taught alongside the history lessons. As students processed their feelings, they shared their thoughts and insights while working collaboratively, and created original scripted scenes which incorporated the survivors’ stories in order to bring their experiences to life. After the script was completed, the roles were cast and rehearsals began. Two weeks of filming took place after Pesach. The entire film portion was shot in Bergen County, and around the TABC campus, where brick walls stood in for ghettos, the train tracks stood in for arrival at Auschwitz, and a park stood in for prisoners’ work detail.

One parent of a cast member shared these impressions: “Tonight, I watched the Bare Witness production. It was extremely moving and emotional for us. The gift that you’ve given our family is priceless. Telling the Holocaust stories are important but acting in some of those stories is so much more powerful. This was an experience that will last a lifetime and they will be able to share these stories with their children and grandchildren. Thank you for giving them this great opportunity.” TABC’s program is essential at this time as current high school students are the final generation to have the opportunity to meet and interact with the Holocaust generation. Hence the title—we are at a bare point where we don’t have many eyewitnesses left to share their experiences with another generation. TABC feels confident that its students have become the newest witnesses in ensuring the world won’t ever forget.

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