Bayside high school hosts play to educate students on the Holocaust and its legacy

The Theatre Three performers on stage at Cardozo High School (Photo courtesy of Beth Kierez)

On March 29, Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside held a theatrical play as part of an observance of the Holocaust.

The play, “From the Fires: Voices of the Holocaust,” was performed by Theatre Three from Port Jefferson.

Meant to educate the students on the Holocaust and its legacy, the play follows the life of a Jewish Berlin teenager from the inception of the Nuremberg Laws in 1937 to the death march to Mauthausen in 1945. Following the play’s conclusion, the cast and producers answered questions from the students in the audience about subjects like the historical veracity of the play, how it felt for the actors to replay Nazis and Holocaust survivors and how their experiences impacted the lives of those portrayed following the events of the play.

In addition to Cardozo High School’s 10th grade students, those who attended the performance included representatives from the office of Council Member Linda Lee and other elected officials and community leaders.

Following the play, Council Member Lee released a statement discussing the historical importance it provides.

“Every year that goes by, there are fewer and fewer survivors alive to tell their stories firsthand,” Lee said. “These stories aren’t just important to the Jewish community, they are a reminder to us all about what happens when we stop seeing our fellow people for their humanity and instead turn them into the ‘other.”

Cardozo High School had held an annual assembly for Holocaust Remembrance Day, but the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in them being canceled each of the last two years. In 2022, Yom Ha’Shoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day in Hebrew — will begin the evening of April 27 and end the following evening.

The play was supported by a gift from Congregation Etz Hayim at Hollis Hills Bayside as well as Cardozo High School in coordination with Council Member Lee, former Council Member Barry Grodenchik and his former Chief of Staff Ari Gershman.

Cardozo High School isn’t the only school in Queens attempting to ensure the memory of the travesties from the Holocaust lives on. Queensborough Community College has a new exhibit at the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center (KHC). Titled The Concentration Camps: Inside the Nazi System of Incarceration and Genocide, the exhibit focuses on the complexity of the mechanism of Nazi terror and extermination and explores the broader ramifications of prejudice, racism and stereotyping.