Wednesday, March 22nd | 29 Adar 5783

February 27, 2023 4:48 pm

NY Governor Speaks About Fighting Hate After Seeing Broadway Play ‘Leopoldstadt’ About Holocaust, Austrian Jewish Family


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A scene from the Broadway play “Leopoldstadt.” Photo: Joan Marcus

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted on Saturday about the importance of remaining vigilant against antisemitism after seeing a Broadway play that traces a Jewish family in Austria over multiple generations and the life and loss they experienced before and after the Holocaust.

Hochul tweeted that Tom Stoppard’s Broadway show Leopoldstadt “speaks of the history of antisemitism and serves as an important, urgent reminder of the need to continue the fight against hate today. #ShabbatOfPeaceNotHate.” The included hashtag references the so-called “national day of hate” that neo-Nazis were pushing supporters to participate in this past weekend by carrying out antisemitic activity against the Jewish community.

Set in Vienna, Leopoldstadt, which is also the name of the Jewish quarter in the city, is a “passionate drama of love and endurance begins in the last days of 1899 and follows one extended family deep into the heart of the 20th century. Full of his customary wit and beauty, Stoppard’s late work spans 50 years of time over two hours.” The drama will be on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre in New York City for a limited time only, with performances going until July. West Wing Jewish actor Joshua Malina will join the cast of Leopoldstadt starting March 14 and will take on the role of family patriarch Hermann Merz.

Leopoldstadt is inspired by the ordeal Stoppard’s own Jewish family faced during the Holocaust. The playwright was born Tomas Straussler in 1937 in Czechoslovakia and his Jewish parents took him and his brother to Singapore when the Nazis invaded their country. After his father was killed by the Japanese, his mother took her sons to India, where she met and married a British army officer. When Stoppard was eight years old they moved to England. He only fully learned about his Jewish heritage when he was in his 50s, when a recently discovered Czech relative told him that all four of his grandparents and three of his mother’s sisters were murdered by the Nazis.

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Watch the trailer for Leopoldstadt in the video below.

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