Irena’s Vow to celebrate Holocaust heroics

Monday, October 15, 2012 9:00:00 PM

In celebration of Cardinal Stritch University’s 75th anniversary, alumni, students, faculty, staff and the public are encouraged to attend a performance of the moving Broadway hit “Irena’s Vow.”

This incredible tale of a righteous rescuer, staged in collaboration with Renaissance Theaterworks, tells the true story of Irena Gut Opdyke, a Polish Catholic who, after the outbreak of World War II, was conscripted as a housekeeper in the home of a powerful Nazi officer. When she finds out that the Jewish ghetto is about to be liquidated, Irena decides to shelter 12 Jewish workers in the safest place she can think of: the basement of the German commandant’s house. Over the next two years, Irena uses her wit, humor and courage to hide her friends until the end of the German occupation, concealing them in the midst of countless Nazi parties, a blackmail scheme, and even the birth of a child.

Stritch's production is the Midwestern premiere of the play, a Broadway hit that garnered several awards for Tovah Feldschuh in the role of Irena. Professional actors Julie Swenson and Drew Brhel will perform alongside Stritch students in the production, directed by Renaissance Artistic Director Suzan Fete.

Jeannie Smith, the daughter of Irena Gut Opdyke, will be on Stritch’s campus on Friday, Oct. 26 and will speak about her mother's experiences during the Holocaust at 11 a.m. in the Nancy Kendall Theater and at 3 p.m. in the Sister Camille Kliebhan Conference Center. 

Showtimes and dates:
Oct. 26-27; Nov. 2-3 at 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 28 and Nov. 4 at 2 p.m.

Nancy Kendall Theater
Joan Steele Stein Center for Communication Studies/Fine Arts
Cardinal Stritch University
6801 N. Yates Road, Milwaukee (get directions here)

Free for Stritch students w/ I.D.

For more information or to reserve tickets, call (414) 410-4171.