Play about life of Jews in Ljubljana staged in Ljubljana street

Ljubljana, 30 August - A street performance Jewish Life in Ljubljana will be staged by the Ljubljana Jewish Culture Centre, Mini Teater and the Yiddishpiel theatre in Križevniška Street tonight and on Wednesday. The play in eight acts will present some of Jewish customs and celebrations before the Second World War, the occupation and the Holocaust.

The first Stolpersteine, blocks with brass plates in memory of Jewish victims of the Holocaust, are installed in Ljubljana.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

During the period of the Holocaust in Ljubljana, local Jews were joined by thousands of refugees, first from Germany, Austria, Czechia and Poland and after 1941 mostly from Croatia.

The script was written by Robert Waltl based on Vinko Möderndorfer's play. The production was directed by Israeli Yonatan Esterkin.

The play is based on the material gathered as part of the project of stumbling stones or Stolpersteine in Ljubljana, which was presented in the booklet Holocaust in Ljubljana, the material for the exhibition Holocaust in Ljubljana, which is being set up for the Ljubljana Jewish Culture Centre and the Ljubljana City Museum, and on the testimonies and photographies collected by the Jewish centre.

Quite a few Jewish families lived in Ljubljana before the Second World War, some of them also in Križevniška Street, where the play will be staged. The relatively small community of 200 people - doctors, students, merchants, shoemakers, bankers, engineers, lawyers ... - lived a quiet life before the war.

They were well integrated into the community but they also preserved their own customs and rituals.

After the occupation of Yugoslavia in 1941, Jews started to be persecuted, mostly by the German occupying forces in the Štajerska and Gorenjska regions, while the Italian and Hungarian occupying forces took a milder approach, especially towards the Jews who had lived on the occupied territories before the war.

When the Italians occupied Ljubljana, many young Jews cooperated with the Liberation Front, realising the danger of Fascism and Nazism. Very soon, bans for Jews started in Ljubljana as well, Mini Teater said in presenting the play, which will be staged in Slovenian, Hebrew and Yiddish with simultaneous translating. Live Jewish music by Kletzmer trio will accompany the play.

© STA, 2022