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Adapted and performed by Susan Stein
Directed by Austin Pendleton  
Susan Stein

Etty Hillesum’s life ended at Auschwitz when she was only 29 years old. In the play, Etty, drawn entirely from Hillesum’s diaries and letters of 1941 to 1943, we meet a remarkable young Dutch woman: insightful, determined, poetic, sensual.


Through the voice of actress Susan Stein, Hillesum speaks directly to her audience, frankly, and with compassion--even for the enemy. Seeking the meaning of her life--and all life--during the terror of Nazi occupation, Hillesum discovers a reality she calls God and opens herself to the power of being fully alive and present, bearing witness to the catastrophe unfolding around her.


In her gentle yet forthright way, Hillesum asks us not to leave her at Auschwitz, but to let her have a “little bit of a say” in what she hopes will be a new world.

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Supported by Classrooms Without Borders

Background image by Ricardo Barros.

April 21 & 22 at 8:00 pm

April 23 at 3:00 pm

Every performance is followed by a talk back with playwright and performer, Susan Stein.


"...a perfect educational tool to engage children in learning about the horrors of the Holocaust."

Brian Edward, 'Burgh Vivant

".[..]Stein shifts flawlessly from troubled and challenged, to hopeful and positive, as Hillesum expresses a trajectory of moods, curiosities and self-reflection."

Megan Grabowski, Pittsburgh in the Round

Susan Stein, Author & Performer

Susan Stein is the author of Etty, an adaptation of Etty Hillesum's diaries and letters. Susan picked up the diaries in 1994 for fifty cents at a yard sale after her friend, Joan, recommended it. After reading the diaries, Susan wanted to give something back to Etty. She wanted to make a play of Etty's words and bring her to people who might not read the diaries themselves.

She began distilling the diaries and letters in 2006 meeting weekly with New York director and actor, Austin Pendleton to bring her adaptation to the stage. Etty has been performed in black box theatres, studios, libraries, schools and major theatres around the country and internationally. Some of these venues include: Yad Vashem, Israel; 59e59 Theaters, New York; Next Theatre, Illinois; Philly Fringe Festival, Pennsylvania; Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Scotland; Smith College, Massachusetts; Boston College; Boston University; University of Ghent, Belgium; Bowery Poetry Club, New York; Fort Monmouth Army Base, New Jersey; The Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York; Anne Frank Center USA, Peekskill Performing Arts Center, New York; and the Etty Hillesum Center in Deventer, The Netherlands.

Susan Stein appeared in Arthur Miller's American Clock, directed by Austin Pendleton. She was seen at Luna Stage in A Parent's Evening. Susan studied acting at NYU Graduate School of Arts & Science and Purchase College, SUNY. She served for thirteen years on the faculty of Princeton Day School in Princeton, NJ teaching Dramatic Literature, playwriting and the history and literature of the Holocaust.

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