Jewish Actor Jesse Eisenberg Talks About ‘Revelation’ Following Poland Trip, Visit With Relative Who Survived Holocaust
A trip Jewish actor and playwright Jesse Eisenberg took to Poland years ago changed this perspective on the Holocaust and revealed a sense of guilt in him that inspired his second play, he told the the daily podcast “The Open Ears Project” on Sunday.
Eisenberg, 36, said he traveled to Poland 12 years ago with his wife to meet a second cousin who survived World War II and still lives in the country.
“I visited my second cousin and just had this revelation juxtaposing my own kind of privilege in America and the lucky life I had compared to what she had gone through,” he said. “That’s probably very similar to a lot of American Jews in my generation, which is that you’re kind of too far removed to have some kind of like survivor’s guilt from the war, but it’s such a part of your history and if you choose to engage with it you’ll realize that you have a lot more engagement with it than you expected.”
Eisenberg explained that his meeting with his relative, and seeing “what she had lived through,” led him to write his second play, “The Revisionist.”
The play is about a young writer named David who arrives in Poland with writer’s block and a desire to be left alone while his 75-year-old second cousin welcomes him with open arms and hopes to connect with her distant American family. “As their relationship develops, she reveals details about her postwar past that test their ideas of what it means to be a family,” according to the play’s website.