Page 1





A NOTE FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR By Vincent M. Lancisi, Artistic Director


am fascinated by local stories with international ramifications (or vice versa). Through the examination of a specific, local story comes universal truths that often connect us with humanity across the globe. This is certainly the case with Karen Hartman’s The Book of Joseph. It’s a story about the Hollander family—right here in Baltimore—yet it’s also the story of families all over the world. It’s specifically about the Hollander family’s journey from the 1930s to today, fleeing Poland and coming to America, yet it’s also about immigration, struggle, and the value of human life. It’s in the best interest of all of us to be reminded about what can happen to a people who experience prejudice, scorn, and eviction, or worse—annihilation by a native surge of nationalism and blame. The Book of Joseph is a new kind of Holocaust story— one seen through the eyes of the next generations, children and grandchildren of survivors looking at the story from a new angle and carrying it forward. The Book of Joseph is also a story about family legacy. In the age of 23andMe,, and other avenues for discovering who we are and where we come from, the Hollander family’s story demonstrates why knowing heritage—the stuff we are made of—is important. At Everyman Theatre, we are attracted to stories of families. Perhaps that’s because our Resident Company of actors and artists are a family. Our deep


relationships both on and off the stage make for richly layered performances and storytelling. Next season is filled with stories of families and close friends, laughing together, crying together, struggling to find their way and to find the light. There’s laughter and wit in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and poetic realism found in a small Irish Village in Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa. We proudly produce a new play by Lynn Nottage—the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat, about generations of steel workers in Reading, PA, fighting to survive the loss of their livelihoods (it could just as well take place on the docks of Baltimore). We have a new play called Everything is Wonderful, by Chelsea Marcantel, about an Amish Family and forgiveness, and a revival of Donald Margulies Pulitzer Prize winner, Dinner With Friends, long-term relationships that continue to surprise. We end this exciting season with the Repertory World Premiere of two glorious plays by Caleen Sinnette Jennings, about a young woman from Queens who comes of age before our very eyes. Queens Girl in the World and Queens Girl in Africa take place during the tumultuous late 1950s and 60s, when the music of Motown and The Beatles served as backbeat to the surrounding political unrest. This Queens Girl, Jacqueline, goes from age 6 to 18 in the two plays, delighting and amazing us in her many discoveries of life’s surprises and contradictions. Subscribing to Everyman Theatre is easy. Nearly 5,000 people sign up every season for the rewarding, entertaining, and cost-effective benefits of a year of theatre. Join our family this coming season! Enjoy the show.


Vincent M. Lancisi, Founding Artistic Director Jonathan K. Waller, Managing Director


Producer’s Circle: Pat & David Bernstein, Beth Goldsmith, Carol Sandler, and Lawrence & Miriam Fisher


Dola/Vita........................................................................................ MEGAN ANDERSON* Joseph.................................................................................................DANNY GAVIGAN* Berta/Miss Blaustein...........................................................................HELEN HEDMAN* Mania/Court Interpreter/Iris............................................................ BARI HOCHWALD* Klara/Felicja..............................................................................................BETH HYLTON* Craig................................................................................................... ELLIOTT KASHNER Genka/Boy Arnold................................................................................. HANNAH KELLY Salo/Court Officer/Stanley Diana/Elderly Arnold......................................... WIL LOVE* Richard.............................................................................BRUCE RANDOLPH NELSON* Set Design


Lighting Design

Costume Design






Projection Designer

Wig Design

Props Master

Stage Manager

Sound Design & Composition





Time: 2008 and 1939-1945

This production will be performed in two acts with one intermission.

PLEASE TURN OFF ALL CELL PHONES. NO TEXTING. NO EATING IN THE THEATRE. The Book of Joseph was commissioned by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the World Premiere was presented on February 4, 2017 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, IL; Barbara Gaines, Artistic Director, Criss Henderson, Executive Director. The Book of Joseph was developed for Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Rick Boynton, Creative Producer. The videotaping or making of electronic or other audio and/or visual recordings of this production or distributing recordings on any medium, including the internet, is strictly prohibited, a violation of the author’s rights and actionable under United States copyright law. *Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States



CHARACTERS Mania Nachtigall Richard’s aunt (ages 49-51) Played by Bari Hochwald Wants: to be validated. Needs: to have her voice and opinions heard. “Sometimes I feel like somebody asked me to sing after my tongue was removed.”

Salo Nachtigall Richard’s uncle (60s) Played by Wil Love Wants: to support his wife, Mania. Needs: to get help from Joseph in saving Mania.

Denotes Off-stage character Denotes Relative

Klara Wimisner Richard’s aunt (early 40s) Played by Beth Hylton Wants: to keep everyone calm and follow routine. Needs: to help her daughter Lusia maintain a normal life. “Your letters are like nectar for us. We get drunk on them....I assure you we’re lacking nothing and may God allow it will stay like this till the end of the war.”

Dawid Wiminsner Klara’s husband

“Please don’t forget us, and try to help.”

Lusia 15. Genka’s cheerful sister. Arnold Spitzman Ward traveling with Joseph and Felicja whom Joseph promised to take care of if allowed citizenship to United States. (14 and 84) Played by Hannah Kelly (Young Arnold) and Wil Love (Elderly Arnold) Wants: a family to call his own, to be reunited with his true family. Needs: safety and security. “My uncle and aunt went to Paris in order to go to Lisbon, Portugal and I was supposed to meet them there. But I was not permitted to land...where my family was waiting. I don’t know [what my plans are for permanent residence].”


Genka Wiminser Richard’s cousin (19) Played by Hannah Kelly Wants: to grow up and learn a profession. Needs: to be comforted in this time of war, find hope and engagement. “The letters from you Dear Uncle are always the best gift... we all are really touched that you remember us.”

Berta Hollander Joseph’s mother, Richard’s grandmother (70s) Played by Helen Hedman Wants: to think the best of others and maintain the family core through trauma. Needs: to be closer to her son, keep her children safe and elevate spirits of those around her. “May the lucky star never leave you. My precious, my love, my only son, my treasure. May you shine for us all.” Joseph Hollander Richard’s father (ages 35-41) Played by Danny Gavigan

preserve the Hollander legacy.

Wants: to save his family. Needs: to

“If it will happen that I will not have anything to leave to our children, I will give them those first letters. They contain the purest love and faith and what can be bigger and more desired for a human being?” Felicja Hollander Joseph’s first wife (late 20s) Played by Beth Hylton Wants: to maintain her lifestyle and hold onto her status. Needs: to escape and survive.

Dola Blaustein Richard’s aunt (40) Played by Megan Anderson Wants: to join her husband in Russia, but they are separated. Needs: to escape with brother Joseph and to be in a loving relationship. “I am breathing, but I am not alive.”

Henek Blaustein Dola’s husband

“How will I replace this shade [of lipstick]?... I’m a blonde.” Vita Hollander Joseph’s second wife and Richard’s mother (29) Played by Megan Anderson Wants: to be an illustrator and have a family. Needs: to live a full life focused on love. “We ride the 7:40 to Red Bank, he reads the poem, and suddenly we are riding our lives.” Richard says about Vita, “Every morning my mother read the newspaper first, with her arts scissors. She removed any mention of the war.”

Richard Hollander (late 50s) Played by Bruce Randolph Nelson Wants: to sell his book, Every Day Lasts a Year. Needs: to honor the past by sharing his authentic family history. “In memory of my father Joseph Hollander I share with you intimate correspondence, official court transcripts, genuine documented evidence of a hero’s quest, on both side of the Atlantic, to snatch his family from the jaw of annihilation.”

Craig Hollander Richard’s son (mid 20s) Played by Elliott Kashner Wants: to know his past in vivid detail. Needs: to relay the truth at any cost. “My vision of heaven is you [Richard] get all the answers and find out if you’re right.” THE BOOK OF JOSEPH PLAY GUIDE | 5

Richard Hollander


On witnessing your family history alive onstage:

On the decision to bring this story to the stage:

It is exceedingly awkward to see my family history on stage. First, there was never a morning in my life when I woke up saying, “Gee, I would like to be a character in a play.” Fortunately, the playwright made my character sufficiently flawed to keep me very humble. It is special to see my parents’ courtship and marriage on stage where their actual words are used. Walking into the theater in Chicago for a previous production, the director placed her arm around me and said, “Just be ready for the scene when your parents are killed.” I found my stomach in knots and it was a challenge to sit through that scene even though it was done with sensitivity.

The book, Every Day Lasts a Year, was adapted for the stage by playwright Karen Hartman, who was commissioned by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. The book was published by Cambridge University Press—an academic publisher. To the best of my knowledge in almost 500 years of publishing this is the first time one of Cambridge’s books has been adapted for stage or screen. With that in mind, it was never the objective to see the book transformed for the stage. There was no precedent. I would like to think that The Book of Joseph is true to the book. It is a docu-drama. Much of the dialogue in the play is comprised of the actual words of the historic characters. That gives the play a powerful sense of reality.

On how you see yourself reflected in your father, Joseph: For the first time I was able to see a parallelism between our lives. I cannot equate his loss of an entire family, all his friends, his nationality, language, culture, and everything familiar in his life to my loss of my parents in a car accident. Emotionally and psychologically his loss was much, much worse. But, on one level, we both lost what was dearest to us through unnatural deaths. To that extent, I am able to somewhat identify my life with his. Of course, I am keenly aware that we protected each other by, both metaphorically and literally, not opening the briefcase of memory. EVERYMAN THEATRE | 6

On lessons learned through this playmaking process: I have long been a fan of team sports. But, nothing on the field can compare to the collaborative teamwork of theater people. The person who makes the wigs, coaches dialect, or helps backstage with the costume changes is equally important as anyone on stage. Unless everyone is pulling in the same direction, the play cannot work. To watch all the orchestration of a play come together is inspiring. I also learned how theater can bring an element of magic to a story and retain the integrity of the plot. In The Book of Joseph,


Act One takes place during a Richard Hollander book talk in 2008, though it feels like now. In Act Two, the setting eventually shifts to a more domestic location. Richard and Craig, father and son, are home together.


After his parent’s passing, Richard Hollander unearths the Hollander family’s origin story. Discovering a stash of Swastika-stamped correspondences from the Hollander family between 1939–1945, we follow a trail of clues spanning Baltimore, Poland and beyond. This gripping true story of resilience and truth-tracking determination, is filled with decades of memories and untold stories—from love and war to a quest for survival. The result is a newfound appreciation for the past.


Take a closer examination of the world of The Book of Joseph by visiting these resources: Literature about this time in history: • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas • Number the Stars • Hansel and Gretel retelling • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe • The Woman in Gold • The Terrible Things (allegory) American Brothers in Service: national/world-war-two-letters/?utm_ term=.15d275d34198

The War Letters Legacy Project: Read hundreds of stories and letters that capture voices from the battlefield and homefront during World War II The Relationship of the AP to German Censorship

Richard, the son, is a generation older than his father, Joseph. A skilled playwright can cut through time and space. center/item.asp?GATE=4-1&title=Diaries%20and%20 Letters

On the legacy you hope to leave behind: To me, The Book of Joseph is a vehicle of legacy. It is giving voice to family members who were silenced in the Holocaust. And, it is telling my father’s story of struggle and renewal. In going through his papers, I discovered my father’s handwritten, but incomplete, autobiography. His very first words say he is writing his story for his grandchildren. As long as The Book of Joseph is performed, his legacy will live. On what he is has pride for:

GIVING VOICE TO THE HOLLANDER FAMILY EXHIBIT The Jewish Museum of Maryland (in East Baltimore) has created a companion exhibit featuring original Hollander family letters and artifacts central to the story of the play. Don’t miss it—on display through June 3. Details at

I believe every person would like in some way to honor his or her parents. I was able to achieve this not because of a book and a play. This was only feasible because my father’s life was so morally and ethically exemplary. I am most proud to share my father’s values with my children and grandchildren. THE BOOK OF JOSEPH PLAY GUIDE | 7

Photo by Lou Daprile



Interview with The Book of Joseph Playwright, Karen Hartman

Where are you from originally and when did you first develop an interest in theatre? I grew up in San Diego. I always loved playing around and putting on “shows” with neighbors but we didn’t see much theater as a family, maybe a musical every couple of years. I took classes and went to a performing arts magnet school in middle school; that’s when I got more serious. When and why did you decide to pursue theatre professionally? How has your background shaped your career path? It was my great fortune that a contest started in San Diego when I was in ninth grade; the California Young Playwrights Festival. When I was fourteen I acted in a play by a girl who was thirteen. Then when I was fifteen I wrote my own play, which won the contest (along with several others) and was produced. Then this happened again when I was sixteen, so by the time I graduated high school I had seen two of my plays produced. For better or for worse, there was no going back. My plays are shaped by my late father’s sense of history, empathy, and some of the sorrows he carried. They are also shaped by my late mother’s comic timing (not always intentional) and unflinchingly concrete approach to the world. EVERYMAN THEATRE | 8

How did you discover Richard Hollander’s family story? What compelled you to dramatize it for the stage? One reason I knew I had to write The Book Of Joseph is that a few years after my father died, I found in his garage old reel to reel tapes and letters that were exchanged between my parents when he was in Vietnam. They divorced about ten years later and we didn’t know about the letters or tapes. I had so many feelings finding these letters, one of which was a very selfish impulse to take them and tell no one, not even my siblings. I finally had the reel to reel tapes digitized and there was all of this material, so precious, so mundane, so everything, these two people communicating and miscommunicating in the middle of a world event. I have not yet found a form for that material. When Barbara Gaines, Artistic Director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, called me in 2011 and she described Richard finding these letters, and the story of Joseph, a chill ran from my brain to my gut. I was in. This work was a great gift, to heal some of my own loss, by looking at another family with an objectively more significant story. That doesn’t happen too often.

How do you feel personally connected to The Book of Joseph? I love every character in the story. I love Joseph; he is brave and good and acts passionately although he is afraid. I love Richard; he is optimistic and loving and wants the best for everyone and has mastered a technique of surviving emotionally by looking on the bright side. I love Craig; he is a truth seeker energized by youth and inquiry. Now of course these characters are a blend of the men I met (or read) and the way I’ve imagined them, but this play feels so personal. What challenges did the piece present for you? What joys has it brought you? Deepest challenge: letters are not inherently dramatic. This requires a lot of finessing, rearranging, and orchestrating. Deepest joy: the story itself. Bringing life and light to people who were murdered. Bringing life and light to the ones left behind wondering, which is all of us really.

What other art forms inspire you? I don’t see enough dance but when I do I’m always amazed that the people dancing are human and I am human too. It makes me proud for our species. What is a favorite play that you have read or playwright that you find compelling? Mud by Maria Irene Fornes is a perfect one act play. Irene was my teacher in graduate school and from her I learned freshness, courage, and working with the body. More recently, I was blown away by Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves. I love the music and the energy of those girls playing soccer. What advice might you give someone interested in pursuing the profession of playwright? Read a lot, see a lot, think and feel a lot, write a lot, and be patient. But not too patient. One thing I admire about Joseph and Richard is they take ACTION. I learn from them. Playwrights should be more like them.

What skills are necessary to cultivate if one chooses to pursue playwriting? Empathy, yet a thick skin. Balance of right and left brain. Plays need to have a sense of spontaneity and play, not to feel formulaic. Yet they are a little formulaic in that folks want a beginning, middle and an end. So there is that balance. Reflect on how a playwright gets work produced and earns income? Playwriting doesn’t pay a lot of money. There is technically no such thing as “employment” because authors own our material and license the rights to produce. So I’m not “employed” by Everyman right now and I’m not “unemployed” when the show closes (in fact, I can’t ever collect unemployment). Playwrights need to see their work staged. If that’s in high school, in college, in your drama club, whatever. You need to see how it works in order to learn. So that’s #1: find that production however you can, on whatever level. And adult playwrights, like all adults, need to pay for housing and food, etc. At this time in our culture there is not a single playwright who makes a living only as a playwright for their full career. We teach, we write television, we write musicals. We create “content” across many “platforms” and that earns some money. And we earn what we can from productions, commissions (When a theater pays something in advance in exchange for rights to the finished play, as Chicago Shakespeare Theater did with The Book of Joseph), and grants.

DRAMATIC FIVE 1. Song that cranks the creative wheels: Missy Elliott – Work It 2. Drink of choice while writing: Coffee!!! When I lived in New York I didn’t drink coffee but I’ve gotten on board with the Seattle miracle drink. 3. Past family member you'd most like to receive a letter from: Probably my dad. He passed away in 2002 and has missed a lot. So maybe I’d want to write him the letter. I’d love a letter from any of my grandparents or great grandparents while on their various boats from Eastern Europe and Russia. 4. Who you'd write a letter to for the future: The girl who will be the first woman president. 5. Moment in history that requires dramatization: This one.




WORLD WAR II January 30, 1933: Third Reich comes to power in Germany. August 1934: Adolf Hitler assumes presidency of the Nazi regime. October–November 1936: Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy sign a treaty of cooperation on October 25. The Rome-Berlin Axis is announced on November 1. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan sign the AntiComintern Pact on November 25, directed against the Soviet Union and the international Communist movement. July 7, 1937: Japan invades China, initiating WWII in the Pacific. September 1938–August 1939: Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and France sign the Munich agreement September 29, resulting in Czechoslovak cession to Nazi Germany. On August 23, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union sign a nonaggression agreement. September 1939: Nazis invade Poland from the West and the Soviet Union invades Poland from the East, initiating WWII in Europe. On September 3, Great Britain and France declare war on Germany. The Polish government flees into exile via Romania. Germany and the Soviet Union divide Poland between them.

THE HOLLANDERS: THE PLAY August 1939: Joseph Hollander arranges travel visas for the Hollander Family to go to Portugal via a wealthy man named Spitzman. September 1939: The Hollanders, without papers or tickets, join Polish Jews trying to walk east to Russia. Before they arrive, German invasions from the Joseph Hollander’s Polish passport Soviet Union trap the family in Poland. They are robbed while trying to return home to Krakow. Once they arrive, they see that their home has also been stripped. September 1939: Joseph and Felicja ride a chartered train to Romania and Yugoslavia. October 1939: Joseph, Felicja, and Arnold Spitzman arrive in Italy and obtain Portuguese visas in Rome.

November 1939: In German-occupied Poland, Governor General Hans Frank orders that all Jews over the age of ten wear a “Jewish Star:” a white armband affixed with a blue six-sided star, worn over the right upper sleeve of one’s outer garments. There were heavy penalties for those caught not wearing it. April 1940–June 1940: Germany invades Denmark and Norway and attacks France, resulting in surrender for all of the neutral Low Countries. On June 10, Italy enters the war with an invasion of southern France. July 1940: The Battle of Britain—an air war against Nazi Germany—results in British victory. November 1940–March 1941: Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria join the Axis Powers against the Allies. EVERYMAN THEATRE | 10

Joseph and Felicja Hollander and Arnold Spitzman aboard the Vulcania

November 1939: Joseph, Felicja, and Arnold leave for Lisbon on the ship “Vulcania.” Portugal refuses their Polish passports, and since they signed documents stating they would not return to Italy, they are taken to Ellis Island in New York.

April 6, 1941–June 1941: Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria invade Yugoslavia, which surrenders on April 17. Germany and Bulgaria invade Greece in support of the Italians. Greece surrenders in early June 1941. June 22, 1941–December 6, 1941: The Axis Powers invasion continues throughout Europe, to include overrunning of the Soviet Union and Baltic States, among many other territories. December 7, 1941: Japan bombs Pearl Harbor.

December 1939: Dola reports that she is preparing to move to her fourth apartment. Joseph writes a letter to the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, requesting to stay in America. January 26, 1940: Ellis Island - New York Harbor: Joseph, wife Felicja and ward, Arnold participate in a Hearing before a Board of Special Inquiry. February 1940: Joseph’s admission to United States was denied. He filed for an immigration appeal. Phase 2 of getting Joseph’s family out of Poland!

December 8, 1941: The United States declares war on Japan, entering World War II. November 8, 1942: The Allies move to the western border of Tunisia, and trigger the German occupation of southern France on November 11.

September 1940: Joseph’s appeal was delayed until September 9th. Appeal denied. November 1940: The Hollander Family in Poland receive travel papers for Nicaragua from Joseph, but they are forbidden from leaving due to the Reich. In America, Felicja sends Arnold to live with a childless couple after she and her brother voice their disapproval of the boy.

Aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor

May 13, 1943: Axis forces in Tunisia surrender to the Allies, ending the North African campaign. July 1943–June 1944: Allied liberation of Nazioccupied territories continues throughout Europe. June 6–July 25, 1944: The Western Allies of World War II launched the largest amphibious invasion in history when they assaulted Normandy on the northern coast of France. December 16, 1944: The Germans launch a final offensive in the west, known as the Battle of the Bulge, in an attempt to re-conquer Belgium and split the Allied forces along the German border. By January 1, 1945, the Germans are in retreat. January–April 1945: The Soviets liberate Warsaw and Krakow, driving the Germans and their Hungarian collaborators out of Hungary. This catalyzes the surrender of Slovakia on April 4 and capture of Vienna on April 13. April 30,1945: Hitler commits suicide. May 1945: Germany surrenders to the Allies and Soviets. The Allies conquer the Japanese island, Okinawa. August 1945: The United States drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. The Soviet Union invades and declares war on Japan.

March 1941: Dola is getting married again. All Jews remaining in Krakow are moved to the Ghetto in Podgorze. August 1942: Berta, the family matriarch, passes away. December 1943: The Hollander Family’s last letter is received by Joseph, while living in America. 1944: Joseph is enlisted in the American Army. Riding a train in New Jersey, he meets future wife, Vita Fishman. They are married in March.

Joseph Hollander in his Army uniform

March 3, 1945: Joseph reports for basic training. As he speaks German, he will be sent to Germany to fight. 1986: After Vita and Joseph are killed in a tragic car accident, Richard Hollander finds the letters in a suitcase in the attic. 2000: Richard finally opens the letters for the first time and begins what later becomes the premise for the book Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland.

September 2, 1945: Japan formally surrenders, officially ending World War II. THE BOOK OF JOSEPH PLAY GUIDE | 11

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Photo credit:



picemaker Gustav Brunn and his family fled Nazi Germany for Baltimore in 1938. After some early struggles, he opened a small spice company near the harbor, where he created a spice blend especially for the fish market vendors across the street. He called his new seasoning “Old Bay.” As every Marylander knows, Old Bay didn’t just become popular—it became an essential ingredient in the traditional Maryland steamed crab feast.

Brunn offers just one example of the Jewish contribution to Baltimore and the surrounding region. Ever since Jews first settled in the city they have played an active role in Baltimore’s economic, civic, and cultural life. It hasn’t always been easy since they faced their share of discrimination. Mostly, though, Baltimore has been a place where Jews could get ahead, participate in the local culture, and embrace a strong identity as “Baltimorean.” At the same time, Jews formed their own tight-knit community with well-defined neighborhoods and strong institutions. This too hasn’t always been easy since they have been a diverse lot, gathered from all parts of the world, from widely different circumstances and religious backgrounds. While Jews arrived in Baltimore before the Revolution, the first to make their mark were the Etting and Cohen brothers, early nineteenth century merchants, bankers, and civic leaders. Two Cohens and an Etting fought at


the Battle of Fort McHenry. But they also had to fight for their own political equality, because the Maryland constitution required public officials to swear a Christian oath in order to hold office. In 1826 the state legislature finally passed the “Jew Bill,” allowing Jews to swear a substitute oath—and their fellow citizens promptly Solomon Etting elected Solomon Etting and Jacob Cohen to the Baltimore City Council. Despite integrating into Baltimore’s social scene, the two families maintained their Jewish identity, acquiring their own burial grounds, keeping kosher, and holding religious services in their homes. Jews from Central Europe migrated to the U.S. in large numbers in the mid-19th century, boosting Baltimore’s Jewish population from about 120 in 1820 to 10,000 in 1880. A much larger wave of immigrants came from Eastern Europe between 1880 and 1920, with the number of Baltimore Jews reaching 70,000 by 1930. Later, smaller migrations included refugees from Nazism in the 1930s, Holocaust survivors in the late 1940s, Soviet and post-Soviet Jews starting in the 1970s, and Iranian Jews in the 1980s. The Jewish population also increased naturally as families put down roots. Today, some 95,000 Jews live in the Baltimore area.

delis of Corned Beef Row) into a series of northwest neighborhoods and suburbs. Their desire to maintain a strong community led them to reside near each other—though real estate discrimination also helped draw the boundaries of Jewish residency.

Baltimore Spice Company, the creator of Old Bay. Photo from the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

From the first congregation’s humble beginning in rented rooms over a Fell’s Point grocery in 1830 grew a thriving network of religious, cultural, and charitable institutions. In 1840 that congregation, Baltimore Hebrew, became the first in America to have an ordained rabbi when it hired Bavarian-trained Rabbi Abraham Rice. It built the Lloyd Street Synagogue in 1845—today, the nation’s third oldest surviving synagogue building. In 1842 some members broke away from Baltimore Hebrew to form Har Sinai, the first American congregation founded on the principles of Reform Judaism. In 1933 the establishment of Ner Israel Rabbinical College made Baltimore an important center of Orthodox Judaism, a position it retains today. Although religiously diverse, Jews united around activities such as taking care of the Jewish poor and fighting antisemitism. In 1920 communal organizations joined together to form the Associated Jewish Federation, which continues to serve the community. Jewish immigrants arrived with few resources. German Jews often began as peddlers while Eastern Europeans—men and women alike—toiled in the city’s garment industry. Baltimore’s commercial and manufacturing opportunities helped families get ahead. Husbands, wives, and even children often worked together to establish small businesses. As Jews climbed out of poverty they moved out of their immigrant ghetto in East Baltimore (still home to the

While most Jewish families attained middle or upper middle class status, a few founded some of Baltimore’s most prominent firms. Louis and Jacob Blaustein’s Amoco Oil Company began in 1912 with father and son selling kerosene door-to-door. The Hoffberger family built a diverse empire that included a heating oil company, National Bohemian Beer, and Hutzler’s Department Store the Baltimore Orioles. Both families created charities to benefit a variety of local causes. Indeed, Jewish philanthropies and businesses have had a major impact on Baltimore. For decades, Hutzler’s and other Jewish-owned department stores drew Baltimoreans downtown. Real estate developers like Joseph Meyerhoff shaped the region’s growth. Meyerhoff, the Cone sisters, Carroll Rosenbloom, and others shaped key institutions, from the symphony to the art museum to the Baltimore Colts. The contributions of Baltimore Jews have extended well beyond the city’s boundaries. Henrietta Szold founded the nation’s largest Jewish organization, Hadassah, in 1912, and went on to build the health system of pre-state Israel. In 1947, Baltimore Zionists acquired an old Chesapeake Bay steamship for the purpose of transporting Holocaust survivors to Palestine. Under its new name, Exodus, its voyage became a key episode in the birth of the state of Israel. A decade later, Baltimore native Leon Uris featured the ship’s saga in his wildly popular novel named after the ship. Other Jewish Baltimoreans who have influenced popular culture include film director Barry Levinson, pop singer Mama Cass Elliott (born Ellen Naomi Cohen), and pioneering rock and roll songwriter Jerry Leiber.


Joseph Hollander’s family letters. Joseph Goebbels, the German Minister for Propaganda and Nazi orator



nce they succeeded in ending democracy and turning Germany into a one-party dictatorship, the Nazis orchestrated a massive propaganda campaign to win the loyalty and cooperation of Germans. The Nazi Propaganda Ministry, directed by Dr. Joseph Goebbels, took control of all forms of communication in Germany: newspapers, magazines, books, public meetings and rallies, art, music, movies, and radio. Viewpoints that threatened Nazi beliefs or the regime in any way were censored or eliminated. During the spring of 1933, Nazi student organizations, professors, and librarians made up long lists of books they thought should not be read by Germans. Then, on the night of May 10, 1933, Nazis raided libraries and bookstores across Germany. They marched by torchlight in nighttime parades, sang chants, and threw books into huge bonfires. On that night more than 25,000 books were burned. This event would later be known as The Book Burning of 1933. Some of the books burned were works of Jewish writers, including Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. Most of the books were by non-Jewish writers, including such famous Americans as Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, and Sinclair Lewis, whose ideas the Nazis viewed as different from their own and therefore not to be read. EVERYMAN THEATRE | 14

The Nazi censors also burned the books of Helen Keller, who had overcome her deafness and blindness to become a respected writer. When told of the book burnings, Keller responded: “Tyranny cannot defeat the power of ideas.” Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States protested the book burnings, a clear violation of freedom of speech, in public rallies in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and St. Louis. Schools also played an important role in spreading Nazi ideas. While some books were removed from classrooms by censors, other newly-written textbooks were brought in to teach students blind obedience to the party, love for Hitler, and antisemitism. After-school meetings of the Hitler Youth movement and the League of German Girls trained children to be faithful to the Nazi party. In school and out, young people celebrated such occasions as Adolf Hitler’s birthday and the anniversary of his taking power. KEY DATES HIGHLIGHTING INSTANCES OF CENSORSHIP December 5, 1930 Joseph Goebbels Disrupts Premiere Of Film In Berlin, Joseph Goebbels, one of Adolf Hitler’s top deputies and Storm Troopers (SA), disrupted the premiere of All Quiet on the Western Front, a film based on the novel of the same title by Erich Maria Remarque. Nazi

protestors threw smoke bombs and sneezing powder to halt the screening. Members of the audience who protested the disruption were beaten. The novel had always been unpopular with the Nazis, who believed that its depiction of the cruelty and absurdity of war was “un-German.” Ultimately, the film was banned. Remarque emigrated to Switzerland in 1931, and in 1938, after coming to power, the Nazis revoked his German citizenship. March 13, 1933 Joseph Goebbels Heads Reich Propaganda Ministry Joseph Goebbels, one of Adolf Hitler’s most trusted associates, was appointed to head the Reich Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda. This agency controlled the writing and broadcasting of all media (newspapers, radio programs, and movies) as well as public entertainment and cultural programs (theater, art, and music). Goebbels integrated Nazi ideas and beliefs into the media. May 10, 1933 Joseph Goebbels Speaks At Book Burning In Berlin Forty thousand people gathered to hear German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels speak in Berlin’s Opera Square. Goebbels condemned works written by Jews, liberals, leftists, pacifists, foreigners, and others deemed as “un-German.” Nazi students began burning books. Libraries across Germany were purged of “censored” books. Goebbels proclaimed it the “cleansing of the German spirit.”

SALA GARNCARZ KIRSCHNER In 1991, as 67-year-old Sala Garncarz Kirschner prepared herself for triple bypass surgery, she opened a painful chapter of her past. For nearly five decades she had shielded her three children from her Holocaust years, never talking about her Polish Jewish family’s experiences during World War II. One summer day that year, she approached her daughter, Ann, carrying a red cardboard box that had once contained a “Spill and Spell” game. She held it out, saying, “You should have this.” Within the box was a small, worn brown leather portfolio stuffed with letters, postcards, and scraps of paper—an amazing array of Polish, German, and Yiddish writing, some of it barely legible, tiny and cramped, some of it beautiful calligraphy. The postcards were covered with stamp-size Hitlers and thick “Z” stamps. “These are my letters from the war,” Sala told her daughter.

NAZI POSTAL SYSTEM Mail was permitted in some labor camps at the discretion of the director to sustain the illusion of normalcy and kindness to workers’ families and to the workers themselves, who were valuable to the German businesses that used them. There were two postal channels: the Nazi postal system (the Deutsche Reichspost) and the much slower community mailbag, operated by the Jewish Council. A woman, encouraging her sister to use the Reichspost, wrote that mail arrived in two days via the Nazi system and 10–12 days through the Jewish Council. However, after Jews were moved into the ghetto, the Jewish community mailbag was used more frequently. The mail system was efficient. For example, one postcard was delivered to Sala even though it had not been addressed to her. All mail was subject to censorship. Although a few early letters were written in Polish, by the end of 1940 letters had to be written in German. The stamp “Z,” for zensiert, meant that a censor had reviewed the letter. It was then punched and stored in a large notebook. Some camps required that old mail be exchanged for new mail. Beginning in 1941, Jews were required to insert the middle name “Sara” for women or “Israel” for men in all addresses. Some of Sala’s letters bore stamps from the General Gouvernement, the large Polish territory that was occupied but not annexed to the Reich. These postcards, often featuring regional architecture, were regular issue after August 1940. The value of each card was 12 Polish grozy, half the value of a German pfennig. Within the Reich, postcards cost 6 pfennigs. Hindenburg Medallion stamps were most common there until 1941, when Adolf Hitler’s profile began to appear on stamps. Find out more about the incredible story of Sala at:


Peter Hirschmann at his home in Maplewood, N.J.(Julio Cortez/AP)



he letter arrived for Peter Hirschmann with a postmark from Nuremberg, Germany, where he and his family had escaped from Nazis nearly 80 years ago.

The words, neat script in three pages, brought the 92-year-old resident of Maplewood, N.J., to tears. They were a message of remorse, sent by a German woman who began to investigate how her grandfather had acquired Hirschmann’s family home after it had been seized by the German government. Doris Schott-Neuse, a 46-year-old civil servant, wanted to express her regret and ask Hirschmann for forgiveness, according to the Associated Press. “I am deeply ashamed for what us Germans did to yourself, your family and to your friends and relatives and to the members of the Nuremberg Jewish community,” she wrote. “It is hardly bearable to start thinking about the details — what a horror and nightmare it must have been to live through this.” In an interview with the AP, Hirschmann recalled his old home on the outskirts of Nuremberg, an old Bavarian town where Nazis had created the Nuremberg Laws, a series of rules that deprived Jews of citizenship, in 1935. Hirschmann’s father Julius was a businessman whose success was evident in the two-story, three-bedroom house. EVERYMAN THEATRE | 16

“It was probably one of the nicer homes around according to the standards of the day,” Hirschmann said. He remembers the changes his parents started to make after Nazis came to power and began implementing policies against the country’s Jewish population. After Jews were banned from using a local pool, his parents set up sprinklers for the children in their backyard. “All of a sudden there was a sign up there: ‘Juden und Hunde Verboten,’ which means Jews and dogs not allowed,” Hirschmann recalled. The family fled Germany in 1939. Schott-Neuse had begun to look into her own family history and how they came to acquire the house a few years after the Hirschmanns left. Schott-Neuse, who lived in the house until she was five, dug through the city’s archives and found that Nazis had seized Hirschmann’s home. By 1941, Willi Muhr, her grandfather, was listed as its owner. Schott-Neuse said her aunt, who inherited the house and later sold it when Schott-Neuse was five, told her that her grandparents had acquired the home after helping the previous owners escape to the United States. But Schott-Neuse said she had come to doubt the story about her grandparents after learning about the house’s history.

“I don’t know if I want to believe that any longer,” she said. “I thought he bought it directly from the Jewish owners but this doesn’t seem to be true.”

but happy to be living free. Hirschmann got a waiver to join the Army after his 18th birthday in 1942, even though he was still a German citizen.

Instead, she has begun to assume her grandfather was connected to Nazis, given how nice the house was.

An infantryman, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, the last major German offensive of the war, where he was captured along with other American troops. He spent the last five months of the war in a prisoner of war camp — he still remembers the dates, Dec. 16, 1944, to May 8, 1945 — telling his captors that he had learned German in high school to obscure his past and ethnicity.

“That is what prompted me to write the letter, because I thought that the family also doesn’t know what happened and I wanted to say I’m so sorry, because it’s not done and over,” she said.

“If he had found out my background, I would have been shot without any explanation,” he told AP. Back in the United States, Hirschmann raised two children with his wife Merle, and had a successful career as an accountant and real estate broker. They have five grandchildren. He has been married for 55 years, and still goes to work at the office of the real estate company he owns just about every day. The letter Schott-Neuse wrote Hirschmann. (Julio Cortez/AP)

In her letter to Hirschmann, she wrote that the Holocaust and Nazi years were “lessons filled with numbers, data, and facts of the deeds of ‘them’ — the Nazis — and we felt that all that was something which was awful but that it happened in a faraway past. And I did not connect these history lessons to my family. My sister and I enjoyed a very happy childhood and connecting family with gruesome horrors did not work. I know that this was the same for my friends.” The Hirschmann family was later paid restitution for the house that amounted to about a tenth of its prewar value, the AP reported. Hirschmann and his family were able to flee Nazi Germany; his parents sent him and his brother to live with a relative in England in the hopes that Adolf Hitler’s time in office would be short, he said in an interview with The Washington Post. But as conditions worsened for the Jews in Germany, Hirschmann’s parents were granted visas to come the United States in August 1939, just weeks before Hitler invaded Poland in what historians consider the start of World War II. By the end of that year, the whole family was reunited in Newark, Hirschmann’s parents working menial jobs

He and his family had visited the home in Nuremberg decades ago during a trip to Germany, sitting down for tea with the young family that had purchased the place. Then, decades later the house came back to him again in the form of Schott-Neuse’s letter, which was mailed to his office. “How she got the address to my office, I don’t yet know,” Hirschmann said. “I give her a lot of credit for researching and finding him,” his wife, Merle, said. Hirschmann wrote an email back to Schott-Neuse, according to the AP, telling her that she was blameless and writing that he was touched by her letter. “You had the option to ignore it and instead you confronted it,” he wrote. “My tears reflect the fervent hope that the humanity, dignity, and compassion you have shown is shared by others of your generation and the generations to follow.”

Reflection: What do you know about your family’s past? What would you do if you discovered something shocking like Peter Hirschmann and Richard Hollander?


LOCATIONS MENTIONED Map of The United States

Map of Central America

New York, NY


Destin, Florida

Map of Europe

Warsaw, Poland

Belguim Krakow, Poland

Czechoslovakia, (now the Czech Republic)



Bologna, Italy Monte Carlo

Lisbon, Portugal



Globetrotter (inTime) by El Lissitzsky

ABCD (self portrai) by Raoul Haussman

Opened by Customs by Kurt Schwitters

Be the Set Designer: Create a mood collage Research the constructivist and dadaist movements, and German artist Kurt Schwitters. These art forms and Schwitters’ work inspired the set design for The Book of Joseph. Identify the defining qualities of this work and explore how it is reflected on stage. Using the designer’s tools of color, line, shape, texture, and image, generate a mood collage in the vein of these movements. Focus on a central theme from The Book of Joseph as your inspiration.

Be the Playwright/Dramaturg: Write a letter to your future descendants Interview a friend or family member about your family’s past. Then, using what you learn, compose a letter to your future family; those you may never get a chance to meet. Share with them what you’ve learned about your past and express how this shapes your sense of self and your family today. What values and qualities of identity will your letter preserve for future generations?

Be the Artist: Design your promotional graphic For each production at Everyman, our Marketing Department works with artist Jeff Rogers to create imagery that conveys a visual story. What story does The Book of Joseph artwork (on the cover of this guide) convey? Think about the play The Book of Joseph and design a new image/artwork to brand the show. Keep in mind that, this image could be used on posters, advertisements, billboards, television, internet, etc. Share it with us on social media using #bmoreeveryman.


GLOSSARY ahistorical: refers to a lack of concern for history, historical development, or tradition

emigration: the act of leaving one’s own country to settle permanently in another; moving abroad

alien: a foreigner, especially one who is not a naturalized citizen of the country where they are living

equipoise: balance of forces or interests

annihilation: complete destruction or obliteration

Erica: a plant of the genus Erica (family Ericaceae), especially (in gardening) heather.

Appendicitis: a serious medical condition in which the appendix becomes inflamed and painful

Every Day Lasts a Year: author Richard Hollander’s book about the letters he discovers in his parents’ attic

Aryan: relating to or denoting a people speaking an Indo-European language who invaded northern India in the 2nd millennium BC; a non-Jewish Caucasian, especially of Nordic stock

FDR: An acronym for President Franklin D. Roosevelt

baritone: an adult male singing voice between tenor and bass bayonet: a swordlike stabbing blade that may be fixed to the muzzle of a rifle for use in hand-to-hand fighting. Board of Special Inquiry: the board that is set up by the commissioner of immigration in order to investigate all matters concerning immigration bond: an agreement with legal force, in particular Borscht Belt: a resort area in the Catskill Mountains frequented chiefly by Jewish guests catatonic: of or in an immobile or unresponsive stupor censor: examine a text officially and suppress unacceptable parts of it codependency: a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement coherent: logical and consistent consular: relating to the consul or consulate in a foreign city crackerjack: an exceptionally good person or thing custody: the protective care or guardianship of someone or something Day of Atonement: Yom Kippur; a Jewish high holy day observed on the 10th day of the month of Tishri by abstinence from food and drink and by the daylong recitation of prayers of repentance in the synagogue domicile: the country that a person treats as their permanent home, or lives in and has a substantial connection with EVERYMAN THEATRE | 20

fiduciary: involving trust, especially with regard to the relationship between a trustee and a beneficiary; a trustee Fleisher Studios: an American animation studio founded by two Jewish brothers. genocide: the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation Hapsburg: also called House of Austria was one of the most influential and outstanding royal houses of Europe heil: to cheer, salute, or greet; welcome Hindustan: is the Persian name for India hoodlum: a person who engages in crime and violence; a hooligan or gangster hypervigilance: an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect activity. Hypervigilance may bring about a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion illegible: not clear enough to be read Immigration and Naturalization Service: The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service was an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor from 1933 to 1940 and the U.S. Department of Justice from 1940 to 2003 interrogation: the action of questioning or the process of being questioned Kraut: a German liquidate: wind up the affairs of (a company or firm) by ascertaining liabilities and apportioning assets machers: a person who gets things done matriarch: a woman who is the head of a family or tribe

megillah: a lengthy, detailed explanation or account

Nazi German occupation of Poland.

mensch: a person of integrity and honor

talisman: an object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck

National Archives: The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation’s record keeper. Of all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept by us forever nectar: a sugary fluid secreted by plants, especially within flowers to encourage pollination by insects and other animals. It is collected by bees to make into honey omission: someone or something that has been left out or excluded paramilitary: (of an unofficial force) organized similarly to a military force perpetrate: carry out or commit (a harmful, illegal, or immoral action) Podgórze: a district of Kraków, Poland, situated on the right bank of the Vistula River, at the foot of Lasota Hill power of attorney: the authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matters red tape: excessive bureaucracy or adherence to rules and formalities, especially in public business Reich: a German word literally meaning “realm”; the German state, especially during the Nazi period remand: to place (a defendant) on bail or in custody, especially when a trial is adjourned repatriate: to send (someone) back to their own country robust: strong and healthy; vigorous; of wine or food) strong and rich in flavor or smell Schindler’s List: a movie by Steven Spielberg about businessman, Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) who saved the lives of more than thousand refugees during the Holocaust. Shtetl: a small Jewish town or village in eastern Europe socialite: a person who is well known in fashionable society and is fond of social activities and entertainment synagogue: the building where a Jewish assembly or congregation meets for religious worship and instruction Tadeusz Panciewiecz: a Polish Roman Catholic pharmacist, operating in the Kraków Ghetto during the

Tisha B’Av: an annual fast day in Judaism, on which a number of disasters in Jewish history occurred, primarily the destruction of both the First Temple by the Babylonians and the Second Temple by the Romans in Jerusalem transcript: a written or printed version of material originally presented in another medium typhus: an infectious disease caused by rickettsiae, characterized by a purple rash, headaches, fever, and usually delirium, and historically a cause of high mortality during wars and famines. There are several forms, transmitted by vectors such as lice, ticks, mites, and rat fleas visa: an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country Wagnerian: an admirer of the German composer Richard Wagner or his music ward: a person, usually a minor, under the care and control of a guardian appointed by their parents or a court


Use this space to jot down any thoughts that arise before, during, and/or after the performance. You can bring this with you to the theater and log your thoughts during intermission or on the bus after the show. Then, bring this to the Post-Show Workshop to share with a guest artist.

I was surprised by/when…

The most memorable scene was when… because...

I was impacted most by the scene where...

I was confused by… or I wonder why...


Sources used to curate this Play Guide include...

THIS PLAY GUIDE CREATED BY Brianna McCoy, Director of Education Lisa Langston, Education Program Manager Brenna Horner, Lead Teaching Artist Abigail Cady, Education Apprentice Katherine Marmion, Graphic Designer


EVERYMAN THEATRE IS LOCATED AT 315 W. Fayette St. Baltimore, MD 21201 Box Office 410.752.2208 Administration 443.615.7055 Email

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT If you have questions about the Play Guide, contact our Education Department at or 443.615.7055 x7142

THEATRE ETIQUETTE When you come and see a play, remember to...

Respectfully enjoy the show. While we encourage you to laugh when something is funny, gasp if something shocks you, and listen intently to the action occurring, please remember to be respectful of the performers and fellow audience members. Please turn off or silence all electronic devices before the performance begins. There is no texting or checking your cell phone during the show. The glow of a cell phone can and will be seen from stage. Photography inside the theatre is strictly prohibited. Food and drinks are not allowed in the theatre. Food and drinks should be consumed in the Everyman lobby before or after the show, or during intermission. Be Present. Talking, moving around, checking your phone, or engaging in other activities is distracting to everyone and greatly disrupts the performance’s energy. Stay Safe. Please remain seated and quiet during the performance. Should you need to leave for any reason, reentrance to the theatre is at the discretion of the house manager. In case of an emergency, please follow the instructions shared by Everyman staff members. Continue the conversation. After your performance, find Everyman Theatre on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and use #bmoreeveryman to tell us what you thought!

CURRICULAR TIE-INS From the stage to the classroom...

COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.2 Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.3 Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed). CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.C Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives. NATIONAL CORE ARTS STANDARDS Anchor Standard #6. Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work. Anchor Standard #7. Perceive and analyze artistic work. Anchor Standard #8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work. Anchor Standard #11. Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding.



SIX-DAY CAMPS July 9-14 | ONE-DAY WORKSHOPS June 30, July 21, 28

Designed for all levels of theatre artist, our unique 6-day camp experience concentrates on the student’s chosen focus (musical theatre or stage performance). Select a focus, explore the craft, and integrate skills into a special showcase at the culmination of the week.

LEARN MORE & REGISTER: 443.615.7055 x7142 |

Works hops i n Stage Comb a t , Physic a Come l dy and St , age Produ ction!

Everyman Theatre "The Book of Joseph" Play Guide  
Everyman Theatre "The Book of Joseph" Play Guide