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Testimony Theater Association - To Tell In Order To Live was established in May 2005. Its main aim was to promote, develop, and publish educational projects which will bring together holocaust survivors and the second and third generations through creativity, artistic expression, and drama therapy. The process consists in writing, directing and documenting the survivors' stories and, in the end, turning these into a theatrical production in which both the survivors and the youth participate.

Although the organization has existed for 11 years, Testimony Theater projects have actually been running for16 years. ESHEL, the association to develop services to the elderly in Israel, founded by JDC-Israel, is associated with the project, both through funding and by negotiating with local authorities and with local senior citizens' organizations.

The projects commence with weekly meetings, which are held simultaneously with several groups. The meetings are between holocaust survivors who belong to community clubs, which are to be found in every city in Israel, and students at junior and senior high schools.

To date - July 2016 – We have accomplished more than 50 projects countrywide, each of which went on from one year to eighteen months. At these meetings, survivors' stories of rescue, survival, and revival are told, written, and documented, and eventually worked into a stage performance. This is presented on stage and filmed. Copies of the film, on DVD, are presented to all the participants and are saved and cherished by their families as a testimonial document for generations to come.
The organization aims to let as many survivors as possible take part in this unique project. Unfortunately, time is running out, as the survivors become fewer and fewer, so that we are on the threshold of the last moment.

Some of them have not spoken of their experiences until now and have never told their stories - not even to their own families. For them, this is a final opportunity to document, to save and to pass forward what they have been through, and what they kept for themselves all these years, to the generations to come, to their grandchildren, to people who have never heard about the holocaust, to the youth that participate with them in the project and to the thousands of youth that come to watch the performance, and to interested audiences that would like to know more.

Youth from schools all around the country accompany this important process. With curiosity, sensitivity, and with a great interest, they are going through the adults' survival story, penetrating to the deepest memories of horror, loss, and pain, and they are part of the process start to finish.

These meetings, which always include all members of the group, both adults and children, create a very warm and family-like environment, an environment for encouragement, for forgiveness, and for hope. The meetings restore to the survivors the feeling of confidence which they lost so young and so cruelly.

The bond that develops between the adults and the children is strong and exciting.
The children are part of the rough "journey" that the survivors are once again experiencing, while they describe the torments of survival and the horrors of the war. The children develop a connection to the painful subject. They are willing and keen to be there, to listen, and to help the survivors with love. They fill the survivors with the ambition to create, to love, to embrace, to deal, and, most of all, with a wish to live!

Testimony Theater Association seeks to help by promoting these projects throughout the country. It strives to give an appropriate answer to every project, using quality technical, documenting, and editing equipment and, to distribute project DVDs to university and school libraries.

The association hopes to make it possible to present the final performance at every school in the cities where a project is taking place. At the moment, only four performances are presented at the end of a project, this being what is possible with the financial support of Eshel and the local authority.  

The Testimony Theater organization has set itself the target to raise awareness of the great importance of the project, in the public and above all the enormous importance of integration in the educational and social system in each city, in order to have the live testimonies of the survivors before it is too late and no one remains to do so.

 

The association also aims to reveal the testimonies to the largest possible number of people in the general public and especially youth by increasing the number of the performances in each city so that the largest public and especially youth,  who will “Pass the Touch” to the next generations; and also by  digital documentation of the stories which are documented in the film taken at each end of project performance.