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Yavneh Students to Perform Stirring ‘Maniusia’s Promise’

This year’s Yavneh drama production is of the story of Miriam Adler-Stock, also called Maniusia. Maniusia is the grandmother of Tamar Fineberg, a member of Yavneh Academy’s graduating class. The production is her account of prewar and wartime Poland.

As the number of survivors of the Holocaust dwindles, there is an even greater obligation to tell these stories in the presence of living witnesses. Yavneh Academy is proud to tell a story from the great and noble Polish Jewry through the eyes of a Savta, a grandmother, of one of its own.

Miriam, Maniusia, grew up in Pabianice, Poland, not far from the very important Jewish community of Lodz, Poland’s second largest city. The Adlers were well off, as they owned a textile factory. But their wealth extended far beyond the material. They were rich in spiritual accomplishment as well. The family held an iron-clad commitment to Torah and mitzvot.

The comforts and privilege of prewar living were suddenly and violently snatched away by the German invasion of Poland and the beginning of World War II. The family was relocated to The Lodz Ghetto. Hunger and disease stalked the streets of the ghetto. Victims died daily.

In the Lodz Ghetto, Maniusia came face to face with one of the most controversial figures of wartime Poland, Jacob Rumkowski, who was known as the “King” of Ghetto Lodz. Rumkowski was appointed Judenrat Chairman in Lodz by the Nazi authorities. He had the impossible job of reporting to, and assisting, the Nazis while trying to help his fellow Jews as best he could.

Maniusia’s stunning ethical behavior under the most impossible conditions impressed even this tragic leader. He insisted on hearing Maniusia’s story in first person. She gained for her beloved father more years of life in the ghetto and, in an eerie way, also gained her own ultimate survival.

After years of resiliency and stubborn efforts to remain alive, Maniusia and the remaining members of her family were ultimately deported to Auschwitz, in 1944. Taking an insane risk, Maniusia’s father Yitzchak dared cross the terrible camp to find Maniusia. He begged her to make him a promise, an unbearably difficult one under the impossible circumstances that faced her. The Yavneh production is a tale of her promise.

The show will take place on Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at Paramus High School.

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