Ep. 95: Where Can I Go? A Candid Conversation with Five Survivors of the Holocaust

For many of us, it is difficult to comprehend the overwhelming enormity of the Holocaust and the 6-million Jews who were murdered by the Nazi regime during WWII. The historical trauma that impacted generations of displaced people and their families following the Holocaust, is the subject of the film WHERE CAN I GO? executive produced by Raleigh-Cary Jewish Family Services in partnership with The Justice Theater Project. The film is the culmination of a year-long program, Kesher, which utilized creative arts therapy to improve mental health and reduce the social isolation of five Holocaust survivors living in North Carolina and sheltered in place during the pandemic. Collectively, they teach us the importance of connecting, understanding, and remembering.

About the Guests

Tobi Dicker was born in a displaced person camp in Furth, Bavaria, Germany on May 3 1947, to two survivors of the Holocaust awaiting quota from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) to send them to Israel. Unfortunately, Tobi became ill and needed hospitalization which caused them to miss their quota. After 15 months of recovery and waiting they received new orders to go to the United States, where they arrived in May of 1950. Tobi grew up in New York and moved to North Carolina in 1994. North Carolina is Tobi’s home, her love. She always strives to remind people of the atrocities of the world. The Kesher program is a wonderful vehicle for which she feels a lot of gratitude. Tobi hopes by viewing this film you will keep in the forefront of your mind we can never be complacent or believe catastrophes can never happen again in the form of discrimination, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hatred.

Marianna Miller was born in Presov, Czechoslovakia on August 8, 1925. She was brought to England at the start of the war  to keep her safe. Both her parents were killed by the end in Banksa Bystirica where there is now a memorial for those who were murdered. Marianna came to the United States in 1954 and had a successful career as a social worker working with families. Marianna moved to North Carolina a few years ago to be closer to her daughter. She enjoys the climate and beautiful landscape as well as the people and their new perspectives. She hopes by viewing this film people will understand her experience and connect it to how we treat refugees and children. She wants people to understand what can happen if we are less than decent to each other.

Harry Rubinstein was born on December 19, 1930, in Cologne, Germany. His family was split up by Nazi immigration rules just before the war. In September 1939, with the help of a special U.S. visa, he gained passage to America with his family. After a successful career as Dean of Graduate School of the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, he moved with his wife to North Carolina and spend retirement closer to their children. Living in North Carolina has allowed them to be part of a vibrant Jewish community and participate in the lives of their children. Harry is a member of the JFS Kesher group and he wants people to see this film to understand the impact of national socialism and Nazism on European Jewish life.

Judy Stevens was born in Gyöngyös, Hungary on June 22, 1946. Before her birth, her mother was in Auschwitz and her father in a labor command in Siberia. Most family members did not survive the war. In fear of another wave of anti-Semitic persecution during the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, Judy and her parents escaped the country as refugees to Vienna, England, and then finally to Canada. Judy came to the United States in 1988 and moved to North Carolina in 2017. Living in North Carolina allows Judy to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren. She is an active member of her synagogue and within the Wake County Jewish community. Until the pandemic, she participated as an active volunteer in the community teaching students who were learning English as a second language. The Kesher program inspired Judy to get in touch with her own feelings about being the child of Holocaust survivors and provided meaning through being with people who understand her past experiences. Judy believes in Elie Wiesel’s words: “When you listen to a witness, you become a witness”. She hopes by viewing this film, people will become a witness to the Holocaust and its horrors so that there will never be a doubt that the Holocaust happened.

Eva Weinerman was born September 22 1942, in Bialapudlask, Poland. Soon after her birth, she and her mother moved into her grandparents’ home when her father was forced into the Russian army. When Eva was three-years-old, her grandparents were murdered by Nazi soldiers and she and her mother were forced to flee. Eva spent the next three years fleeing and hiding in countless villages. Eventually, her father reunited with them, and her younger sister was born in 1945. After traveling through several displaced persons’ camps, the four of them were able to gain passage to Brussels, Belgium in 1947. In 1952, Eva’s family moved to Brooklyn, New York and in 2007 Eva and her husband moved to North Carolina. North Carolina has provided Eva with a peaceful community, warm weather, and good medical care. Eva is grateful to the Kesher program for introducing her to more Holocaust survivors who understand each other’s experiences. She hopes people who watch this film will understand that the Holocaust did happen and could happen again if we are not more aware of other people’s feelings.

Barbara Kaynan is a freelance theater artist and certified drama therapist. Her history in theatre, creative arts therapy, and academia have bolstered her dedication to integrating arts and health. She has studied both in the U.S. and internationally, which influences her cross-cultural approach. Barbara’s stage directing and therapeutic theatre experience includes work in community centers, nursing facilities, Off-Broadway, universities, regional theatres, and in the independent NY theatre community. Barbara’s clinical work encompasses adult inpatient acute psychiatric, pediatric post-operative, older adults with memory care and skilled nursing needs, Holocaust survivors, adolescents in alternative learning centers, individuals living with chronic and persistent mental illness, and outpatient programs for individuals living with developmental delays. 

Where Can I Go? is produced by Raleigh-Cary Jewish Family Services in partnership with The Justice Theater Project. The film is available to stream on-demand now. For more information visit The Justice Theater Project website.

To watch an interview with Barbara Kaynan and Jesse Bonnell (co-directors on the film), click here.

To read a review of the film, click here.

Related Posts

A Resounding JURORS Opens Justice Theater Project’s Season

Read Kim Jackson’s review of Justice Theater Project’s season opener 12 ANGRY JURORS.

Read more

Stage Combat: A Mental Health Story Exposes Goodspeed’s Ghosts

Hear what Sean Hayden has to say about his own mental health story, the theater industry, and empowering others.

Read more

A Conversation with Amy Spanger (THE PROM)

Hear what Amy Spanger has to say about steping into the role of Dee Dee Allen in the Theatre Raleigh production of THE PROM.

Read more

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: