Hamilton Drama Society invites community to free play performance, talk by Holocaust survivor

Hamilton High School’s Drama Society invites the community to “Butterflies and Budapest: Two Stories of Children in the Holocaust.” Students will perform their state-qualifying one-act play, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” by Celeste Raspanti. They have invited Eva Zaret, a holocaust survivor, to speak afterwards about her real-life experiences as a child in the Budapest Ghetto.Butterflies-One-Act-Play-Web

The event is free of charge and begins at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex.

“I Never Saw Another Butterfly” is a collection of works of art and poetry by Jewish children who lived in the Terezin concentration camp. The title comes from a poem written by a young man who was incarcerated in Terezin and later killed at Auschwitz.

The book was later turned into full-length and one-act plays. The play centers on Raja, one of the children who survived Terezin, and her family, friends and classmates. She shares her story of living in the concentration camp, while retaining a world filled with butterflies and flowers with other children in the camp.

Eva Zaret, born Eva Klein in Budapest, Hungary in 1936 lived through the Holocaust in the Budapest Ghetto. After the war she regained her health in the Carpathian Mountains with family. On a trip into the city her family was caught in the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution, which she and her husband escaped on foot, eventually coming to the United States. She now volunteers on the speakers’ bureau for the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, a program of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

Sarah Plamann, Hamilton School District music teacher and high school drama director, said the cast had been working with the Jewish Holocaust group as they prepared for one-act play competition.

“When students realized there were survivors in the area, they wanted to hear from one to better understand the story they were telling,” Plamann said. “Being able to put things together in this powerful way seemed the best way to tell these stories.”