Friday Headlines

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My Brother's Gift

Sixth Form

12 May 2023

On Thursday 4 May, a group of GCSE and A level Humanities and Language Students travelled to Solihull School to watch the second national performance of My Brother’s Gift, a play written by Claudia Haas. The play was based on the writings and memories of Holocaust Survivor Eva Geiringer Schloss, and related the deeply poignant yet remarkable and inspiring story of Eva’s family, and in particular the life of her brother, Heinz. 

The play’s subject matter was contextualised by a pre-performance exhibition, which communicated, through testimony and photographs, the details of the Geiringer family’s escape from Vienna following Austro-German political union in 1938, their new life in Amsterdam, their experience in hiding and their arrest and deportation to Nazi Concentration Camps. The exhibition also discussed Eva’s life after Auschwitz – she and her mother, who went on to marry Otto Frank, survived – and Eva has since strived to preserve her brother’s memory and educate young people about the realities of genocide and the importance of empathy. 

My Brother’s Gift, as Eva expressed in a Q&A session following the performance, represents a particularly important part of her decades-long effort, enabling new audiences to discover and learn from the Geiringers’ story. The beautiful paintings Heinz produced in hiding were the play’s motif; his landscapes, still-lifes and scenes from daily life were projected onto the backdrop, punctuating the play. These were powerful symbols of hope, despair, love and loss – and a reminder of the value of art as a means of commemorating those who lost their lives during the Holocaust. 

For many of us, hearing Eva speak about her experiences will be the aspect of the day that will stay with us throughout our lives. We were all struck by her courage and her openness, and will endeavour to emulate her message of kindness, acceptance and respect in the way we act. The opportunity to hear the authentic voice of survivors of the Holocaust is becoming increasingly rare; we are incredibly grateful to Eva, Solihull School, and our teachers for having enabled us to partake in this trip. 

Abigail Tomlinson, Year 13

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