Georgia College to host Holocaust lecture, play

To help promote an Aug. 23 performance of the play “The Flights of Jan Wiener,” Georgia College & State University will host a lecture Sunday about the music, writing and art that came out of the Holocaust.

Both events will take place at the Campus Black Box Theatre, 147 W. Hancock St., in Milledgeville, and are free to the public.

Sunday’s lecture will feature Alfred Schneider, a professor emeritus of chemical engineering at Georgia Tech, who is a Holocaust survivor.

Karen Berman, department chairwoman of the university’s Department of Theatre, said the university maintains a relationship with the William Bremen Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta, which includes a history of the Holocaust. When museum officials found out about a performance of the play, they suggested arranging for Schneider to speak on campus, Berman said.

“The Bremen Museum is bringing him in,” Berman said. “He told me on the phone that he’s going to talk about the art and music (that came out of the Holocaust). ... There was beautiful poetry, music and art that came out of that horror. He’s interested in the good that came out of that evil.”

Berman said Schneider will include a PowerPoint presentation to show those in attendance some examples of the art and music produced in the concentration camps.

Berman co-wrote “The Flights of Jan Wiener” with Paul Accettura. She took a group of Georgia College theater students to the Czech Republic over the summer to perform the 45-minute play, which details the life of Wiener, a World War II hero who escaped Czechoslovakia and served as a navigator with Great Britain’s Royal Air Force. Wiener’s mother was killed in the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia between 1941 and 1942.

Berman noted that many Jewish musicians, writers and artists were sent to Terezin by the Nazis.

Wiener later came to the U.S. before returning to his home country for good, teaching history at Charles University and also teaching at New York University’s Prague campus.

Berman said Wiener’s widow attended one of the performances this summer.

“It was a very moving experience,” Berman said. “Our students also went to Terezin.”

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.