Women of all ages gathered for this year’s Atlanta Jewish Academy Upper School Chagiga play, “The Might of Right,” which recounts stories of bravery relayed by community Holocaust survivors.
The musical production premiered Sunday, Feb. 4, with tea and desserts before the show, then had another performance the next day.
As the lights dimmed, audience members were taken back to Nazi-era Poland, where Bubby Chaya, played by freshman Kira Mermelstein, recounted her tale of survival to her grandson Chaim, played by sophomore Rotem Kadosh.
The play is based on survivor accounts, including those of Paula Gris and Regine Rosenfelder, and highlights the courage of righteous people who hid Jews from the Nazis during World War II.
“If the war had been even one day longer, we may not have these same stories to tell. Every day that these heroes survived was another miracle,” Gris told AJA senior Maayan Schoen, who wrote and directed the play.
“I was inspired by Jewish leader and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to title our play ‘The Might of Right,’” Schoen said. “We immortalize his quote on a plaque which reads, ‘We have returned to the land of our fathers, not by the right of might, but by the might of right.’”
Schoen recognized the importance of telling a Polish-set Holocaust story even as Poland was enacting a law denying Polish culpability in Nazi crimes.
“We are living in a day when the world hardly bats an eyelash at Poland’s criminalization of the term ‘Polish death camps,’” she said. “Our play is set in Poland. … For many of us, this production is our first step in embracing the responsibility we have today for tomorrow, and through our medium, we are taking ownership over it.”