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Ghetto Cast Meet Holocaust Survivor

 
The cast of Ghetto, the 2017 Kent College School production, was extremely privileged to hear 95 year old Zdenka Fantlová describe her life during the Second World War following Germany’s occupation of her native Czechoslovakia. Zdenka, without a single written note, spoke for over 90 minutes about the horrors that she witnessed and how the love she had for her fiancé, Arno, kept her going during the time that she spent in six concentration camps where she was sent just because she happened to be Jewish. Moments before Arno was separated from her forever, he gave her a ring made out of tin which she managed to keep throughout the war; this was her inspiration and hope, it gave her the determination to survive all of the horrendous circumstances in which she found herself.  She also found much strength in the advice that her father gave her before he was taken away by the Gestapo, ‘calmness is strength’.
 
Her zest for life, determination and inner strength were tangible as she explained that as she arrived at Auschwitz, she had no idea what it meant when she was sent to the right instead of left towards the smoking chimneys. Furthermore, when she was in Bergen-Belsen, in the final days of the conflict with 60,000 people in a camp designed to hold a tiny fraction of that number, sharing a three tier bunk with 11 other people, all of whom were crawling with lice and suffering from typhoid; she felt she was not a victim, but instead she imagined that she was a spectator. Following Germany’s defeat, it was here that she heard an English voice and, thanks to English lessons she had pleaded with her father to let her attend five years earlier after listening to a Fred Astaire record, she was able to tell the soldier in a language he understood that she was dying. At first he said that she would have to wait her turn but she managed to convince him to take her away the following morning in an ambulance. 
 
Zdenka was the only member of her family to survive the war and is an inspiration to all who meet her. It was certainly no surprise that at the end of the talk, the audience gave her a standing ovation. The talk was an unforgettable experience for all and an invaluable resource for our preparations for this extraordinary production.

For further information about our immersive new production running from 31st January - 4th March, please click here.
 
 

Posted: 19/01/2017 at 09:23
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