Mount St. Dominic Academy Performing Arts Presents
Letters to Sala
November 12 & 13, 2021
Doris M. Byrne Performing Arts Center
The Mount’s Fall Drama “Letters to Sala” is set to take the stage the second weekend in November. Our theater students have been rehearsing this school year for the historical production featuring the story of Sala Garncarz and her experience in a Nazi slave labor camp. Sixteen year old Sala thought she would be there for six weeks, but remained a captive over five years in seven different camps. She remarkably received and saved over 350 letters and photographs, and kept a diary -- these connections to her family and friends tell a story of survival, love, and the power of words.
The Mount is proudly portraying this drama to an audience of family members of our cast and crew due to Covid restrictions.
About "Letters to Sala" by Arlene Hutton
Adapted from the book "Sala’s Gift" by Ann Kirschner and based on a true account, "Letters to Sala" is a remarkable story of a young girl’s survival during wartime Germany. Five years. Seven Nazi labor camps. Over 350 hidden letters. Sala Garncarz Kirschner kept her secret for over fifty years, concealing her incredibly painful history in a Spill and Spell box. Everything changes when Sala reveals the cache to her grown daughter, Ann. "Letters to Sala" draws from the emotional journeys that begin for both Ann and Sala when the letters resurface. Through scholarly research, Ann discovers that her mother has made a historically significant impact on Holocaust documentation. As Ann processes her own reaction to her mother’s story, her daughters, Caroline and Elisabeth, also realize for the first time the weight of their Jewish heritage. Simultaneously, Ann’s study of the letters throws Sala into the past again. She relives her youth, recalling her naïve desire for adventure, the disillusionment of her life in the work camps, and her loss of communication with the outside world as the war progressed around her. Playwright Arlene Hutton drives the two stories to a single question: What is to be done with these letters? If Sala risked her life to hold onto them as a young woman imprisoned in a work camp, are they merely the emotionally rich relics of her past life? Or are they worthy and important historical documents that demand to be shared with the public? Three generations of Kirschner women must work together to sift through the past and come to terms with the true gravity of Sala’s letters. Sala’s letters, which were displayed in a special exhibition at the New York Public Library in 2006, are an important addition to Holocaust research, called, as one journalist noted, “the greatest find since Anne Frank’s diary."
See resources and more about the production here.