Orchard Street Productions brings the critically acclaimed one-man play, Wiesenthal (Nazi Hunter) to the Isadore and Penny Meyers Theatre Merage at the Jewish Community Center of Orange County on March 12. Veteran actor and playwright Tom Dugan portrays Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, the famed concentration camp survivor who made it his lifelong pursuit to bring over 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice.
The 90-minute play relates the details of several of Wiesenthal’s investigations, such as Franz Stangl, the former commandant of the Treblinka death camp, arrested in Brazil in 1967 and sentenced to life imprisonment for the mass murder of 900,000 people; Adolf Eichmann, a major organizer of the Holocaust, arrested in Argentina and hanged in 1962 in Israel. When challenged by Austrian deniers to prove that Anne Frank actually existed, he tracked down Karl Josef Silberbauer, the officer who arrested Anne Frank and family sending them to concentration camps.
Written and starring Tom Dugan, he researched Wiesenthal’s character and conducted worldwide searches for war criminals for a year to author this play that has gone from Broadway to across the United States and abroad. Wiesenthal has been hailed as “masterful” by Backstage, “authoritative and engaging” by the Los Angeles Times and “most eloquent” by LA Weekly.
Dugan received the Los Angeles Drama Circle Award for the Best Solo Performance and the New York Outer Critics Circle Award for Wiesenthal, and also earned several Los Angeles Ovation Award nominations.
While Simon Wiesenthal is known for dedicating his life to memorializing the millions of Jews who were killed in concentration camps by hunting down their murderers, many people are still not so familiar with the justice he served,” said Jay Kholos, President of Orchard Street Productions. “This is an excellent production taking the audience beyond history books to better understand some of the complexities of the Holocaust’s aftermath.” There are 150 performances of Wiesenthal (Nazi Hunter) scheduled during the 2019 North American Tour.
During his lifetime Simon Wiesenthal identified more than 22,000 Nazis presumed to be still alive after World War II.
Five percent of his investigations resulted in trials for Nazis suspected of war crimes. Unrelenting in his quest for justice, he went on to establish the Jewish Historical Documentation Center in Linz, Austria in 1961, for gathering information for future war crimes trials and aiding refugees in their search for lost relatives. He opened the Documentation Centre of the Association of Jewish victims of the Nazi Regime in Vienna in 1961 in efforts to locate missing Nazi war criminals.
The lifelong commitment made by Simon Wiesenthal in seeking justice for those victims of the Nazi concentration and death camps was a lifelong pursuit. Wiesenthal died in his sleep at age 96 in Vienna, on Sept. 20, 2005. The Simon Wiesenthal Center (a Jewish human rights organization known for its determined search for former Nazis), located in Los Angeles, is named in his honor.
Educating the next generation is now the responsibility not only for survivors but humanity.
A Q & A will follow the performance featuring actor/writer Tom Dugan with a representative from the Simon Wiesenthal Foundation.
Tickets for the March 12 performance of Wiesenthal-Nazi Hunter at the Isadore and Penny Meyers Theatre Merage at the Jewish Community Center, 1 Federation Way, Irvine, CA 92608 can be ordered by calling 1-866-811-4111 or visiting WiesenthalTheShow.com. There is a discount for groups of 12 or more, call 615-400-7793.
PAMELA PRICE IS A CONTRIBUTING WRITER TO JLIFE MAGAZINE.