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Cast has high hopes for play about Holocaust

Good people, with kindness in their hearts, helped Jews during World War II.

That’s what “Hiding in the Open” is all about, according to Morgan Kowalewski who plays Helka in Gothenburg High School’s one-act production.

“Even though the bad outshone the good, there was still hope and kindness,” Morgan said.

The story is from Sabina Zimering’s memoir, adapted into a drama by Kira Obolensky, and tells the true story of two Jewish sisters.

Morgan’s sister, Amanda Kowalewski, is also her sister (Sabina) in the play.

The sisters are from Poland and assume false Catholic identities. They work in a Nazi hotel in Germany where they live in constant fear of having their identities revealed. Along the way, the sisters experience human kindness despite horrific atrocities.

For both Kowalewskis, portraying the sisters as they should be is the biggest challenge.

“So people believe it’s actually the character,” Amanda said. “It’s hard to portray it realistically.”

The Kowalewskis, and the rest of the cast, hope people see the production because “we shouldn’t forget” the Holocaust, Amanda said.

“We must remember it because not very many people who lived it are still alive,” she explained. “Their stories help portray and keep the memory that it actually happened.”

Maddy Costello, who plays Irma—a mean German who works in the hotel—said the production honors the people who were Jewish and in the war.

Morgan added that the play is educational and shows another side of the Holocaust and that good people existed during that time.

One-act director Lori Long said it’s a good portrayal of Thanksgiving.

“It’s about hope and forgiveness and all of the people who brought light to and nurtured those girls’ lives,” Long said. “The girls had a future and were not faceless sisters who disappeared.”

In fact, she said the sisters immigrated to the United States after the war, noting that Sabina is still alive and living in Minnesota.

Long said the drama is very episodic in structure and the first of that type students have performed since “The Triangle Factory Fire Project” six years ago.

The public will have four opportunities to see the production in the performing arts center at GHS.

Tuesday, Nov. 13— Gothenburg Invitational, GHS performance at 8 a.m.

Monday, Nov. 19—Southwest Conference, GHS performance at 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 27— Public performance and dessert bar at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 1—B-5 district competition, GHS performance time to be announced.

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