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One-man show honors Jewish Nazi hunter

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Two months ago I offered my thoughts about remembering the Holocaust and keeping the truth alive. There are those in this world who say that the Holocaust never happened and with the number of actual witnesses shrinking as time passes, it is up to us to tell and retell the story of the greatest tragedy of all mankind. We must tell it well because, as Rabbi Joseph Frankel told me some thirty years ago, “One hundred years from now, someone will pick up the works of an anti-Semitic non-believer, read it, and then read the works of a Jew who perhaps didn’t express his thoughts as well as the skeptic.”

Then he might say, “This one writes so much better, and what he says is so convincing that it must be true. Therefore, the Holocaust didn’t happen.”

I was once asked, “Haven’t you had enough of that?”

“No!” I responded. “As a supporter born into the era of this piece of history, I can never have enough of it.”

I personally applaud those who do their best to keep the memory of this tragedy alive because, as Edmund Burke said, “Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.”

I salute the producers of movies and TV shows, the writers, the reporters and, of course, those in the performing arts who are not afraid to shout their thoughts on the matter. The usual ugly, crawling insects are not afraid to show theirs.

Today I give a standing ovation to Tom Dugan, the author and performer of “Wiesenthal – Nazi Hunter – Conscience of the Holocaust.”

In the opening scene Mr. Dugan as Simon Wiesenthal welcomes an imaginary group of students to his cluttered office on his last working day before retiring. We in the audience become his guests as he fills our heads with facts and stories about his amazing accomplishments and disappointing failures.

Besides being educational as well as entertaining, this one-man show is a magnificient mood changer. It begins with a laugh and in a matter of seconds forces us to become gripped and involved in the maze of this heartbreaking disaster. First a smile. Then a tear.

Tom Dugan is the winner of the Los Angeles Drama Circle Award for Best Solo Performance for this exceptional work, and is the recipient of three Los Angeles Ovation nominations.

By the way, Mr. Dugan is not Jewish. He is an Irish Catholic who is married to a Jewish woman and, as he put it in a conversation with the audience after the show, “I have two Jewish sons.”

Mr. Dugan’s stunning contribution to the performing arts has zigzagged across the United States and will be here in our back yard next week at the 92nd Street Y. I urge you to order your tickets now while you can still see his performance at a popular price. Shows such as this eventually find a home in an appropriate off-Broadway theatre and there is no doubt that, after a few wonderful reviews, ticket prices will skyrocket. I am an appreciative StanGershbein@Bellsouth.net congratulating and thanking Tom Dugan for his mega-marvelous contribution to Judaism and humanity.

Read Stan Gershbein's column every Monday on BrooklynDaily.com.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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