HENRY GREENSPAN is a psychologist and playwright at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who has been writing and teaching about the Holocaust for almost three decades. He is the author of On Listening to Holocaust Survivors: Recounting and Life History and, with Agi Rubin, Reflections: Auschwitz, Memory, and a Life Recreated as well as the acclaimed play, REMNANTS, described below. He received his B.A. and M.Ed. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from Brandeis University. In 2000, he was the annual Weinmann Lecturer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washingon.
In contrast with most “testimony” or “oral history” projects--which typically are based on one-time interviews--On Listening to Holocaust Survivors is an intensive study based on two decades of interviews and reinterviews with the same core group of respondents. Greenspan shows us what can be learned through that sort of sustained engagement that is not learned through more conventional approaches. Indeed, he avoids the word “testimony,” referring more simply to retelling within deepening conversation and dialogue.
Among his plays, REMNANTS is also based on two decades of his conversations with survivors. The piece was originally produced for radio and broadcast on NPR stations across the United States. As a stage play, Greenspan has performed REMNANTS as a one-man presentation at more than a hundred venues throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as in Britain, Israel, and the Czech Republic. The piece has won more than a dozen awards including the Attic Theater Center of Los Angeles New Plays Festival, the Henrico National Competition, the New Hope Performing Arts Festival, and numerous public radio awards. Recent stage venues have included the John Houseman Theater in New York, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Magdeburg Barracks Theatre in the former Theresienstadt camp--a space that was used for performances during the Holocaust itself.
Currently, he is working with collaborators on a film that will present both a full performance of REMNANTS as well as background reflection about the development of the play and his thirty years of conversations with survivors more generally.
To read May, 2000, Weinmann Lecture at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, go to:
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