Etty: The Play

Thursday, December 12 & Friday, December 13, 7:00 - 8:30 pm


“On Tuesdays the train leaves. But no matter where You place me, I will always long for this desk."

So begins Etty, a one-woman theatrical play based on the diaries and letters of Etty Hillesum.  Using only Etty’s words, Susan Stein brings us to 1943, when Etty, a young Jewish woman, is about to be deported out of Holland.

Sharing the stage with a suitcase, Etty speaks to us as she tries to gain clarity and insight into her life as she prepares for her three-day journey to the east. She digs deep into her soul to understand this piece of history and root out any hatred or bitterness, believing that humanity is the best and only solution for survival. Etty's words, insights and beliefs reach out from the Holocaust and allow us to see the power of hope and individual thought in the most extreme circumstances, ultimately addressing issues of human nature, human rights and genocide. She asks us to consider our own responsibility today, in a world where the promise of “never again” has not yet been realized.   In her gentle yet forthright way, Etty asks us not to leave her at Auschwitz but to let her have a bit of say in what she hopes will be a new world.

Esther "Etty" Hillesum was a young Dutch Jewish student living in Amsterdam during WWII. Etty's diaries and letters from 1941 - 1943 describe life in Nazi-occupied Holland and Westerbork Transit Camp where she was interned. Etty Hillesum was 29 years old when she was murdered at Auschwitz/Birkenau.


Actor/Writer Susan Stein created Etty after picking up her diaries for fifty cents at a yard sale. After reading them, Susan wanted to give something back to Etty and keep her alive. She has been performing Etty in theaters, prisons and universities throughout the U.S. and Europe for the past two years.

Previously, Susan appeared in Arthur Miller's American Clock and Bathsheeba Doran's A Parent's Evening as well as Richard Nelson’s Rodney's Wife, Lanford Wilson's The Great Nebulae of Orion, Beckett's Play, and Christopher Durang's Wanda's Visit.


Director Austin Pendleton is an American film, television and stage actor, playwright, theater director and teacher whose career spans over forty years. He is an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the author of Orson's Shadow, Uncle Bob and Booth.

Learn more about Etty: The Play

WHEN: Thursday, December 12 & Friday, December 13, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, Followed by conversation
Registration begins at 6:30 pm - Please arrive early as doors will close once play begins.

WHERE: Frey Theater on the campus of St. Catherine University (Map)

Registration is CLOSED for both performances.


St Catherine University's Theater, Music, & Theology Departments
Rimon: The Minnesota
Jewish Arts Council