Contemporary Witness Theatre

The contemporary witness theatre was a pilot project. Supported by theatre teachers, survivors of the Nazi terror worked with pupils to reappraise their persecution stories and turn them into a stage play. This creative approach allowed young people to experience history first-hand and offered survivors an opportunity to come to terms with their experiences while helping fight oblivion.

The idea was born in Israel in 2005. Back then, the organisation JDC / ESHEL launched their “To tell in order to live” programme. Since then, more than fifty contemporary witness theatre groups have been created in Israel. The non-profit organisation ESHEL works with the humanitarian organisation American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Israeli government to improve older people’s lives.

As partner of JDC / ESHEL, the Federal Association transferred the idea to Germany. The contemporary witness theatre project premiered at the Leibniz Gymnasium grammar school in Dormagen in February 2014. The theatre group travelled to Israel in 2015 to stage their play in Tel Aviv. Both performances were a great success. 


The project could be realized with the kind support of the Foundation "Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft" (EVZ) and the Otto and Fran Walter Foundation.



The trip to Israel was funded by the Auswärtigen Amt.

Cooperation partner: JDC / ESHEL, Stadt Köln, Leibniz-Gymnasium Dormagen, Synagogengemeinde Köln, Begegnungszentrum in Chorweiler

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