In “Witness Theater,” aging Holocaust survivors tell their stories to high-school students in Brooklyn in a unique program led by a drama therapist. The hope is that this sharing will sensitize the students and give some closure to the adult survivors after all these years. The Witness Theater workshop in which they all participate culminates in the performance of a play based on survivor stories. The film uses a mix of cinéma vérité, archival footage, interviews, animation, and staged re-creations to blend past and present. The film imparts insights into the effect of the past on multiple generations of Jews, while also illustrating the power and importance of transmitting experience from one generation to the next. As the last generation of Holocaust survivors lives out their final years, the number of individuals who are physically and mentally able to “bear witness” dwindles, and the question of what happens to their stories and their experience remains.
For 75 years, people of all countries, races, and faiths have gathered in Sainte-Mère-Église to commemorate D-Day, but with few veterans left, who will preserve their legacy?