Susan Stein in the role of Etty Hillesum. Etty is a touring one-woman play based on the diaries and letters of Etty Hillesum, adapted and performed by Susan Stein. Directed by Austin Pendleton.

Using only Etty Hillesum's words, Susan Stein's adaptation brings us to 1941 when Esther "Etty" Hillesum, a young Dutch Jewish woman, is living in Amsterdam. Upon the recommendation of her therapist, Julius Spier, she began a diary on 8 March 1941 to help her with her depression. Hoping to become a writer, the diaries take on their own literary life, presenting both Etty's growth as a writer and spiritual transformation. As deportations begin, she prepares for the three day journey eastward, she digs deeper into her soul to understand this piece of history and root out any hatred or bitterness, believing that humanity is the best and only solution for survival. Etty's words, insights and beliefs reach out from the Holocaust and allow us to see the power of hope and individual thought in the most extreme circumstances. In her gentle yet forthright way, Etty asks us not to leave her at Auschwitz but to let her have a bit of a say in what she hopes will be a new world.

finding-etty encompasses theatrical and educational experiences designed to challenge participants to reexamine assumptions about the Holocaust and explore issues of resistance, human rights, social justice and individual responsibility. We make available study guides to enrich an audience's experience of the play. Teaching artists work closely with educators to tailor to the needs of a given site a variety of writing and dramatic workshops. finding-etty teaching artists have also created a curriculum for teaching the Holocaust through the arts with a series of lessons that work independently or in conjunction with the play Etty.

The mission of finding-etty is to use the writings of Etty Hillesum to promote social justice, to challenge prejudice by examining the consequences of genocide and to enable participants to explore their own personal stories alongside Etty's, as they consider their role in the struggle for human rights.


finding-etty gratefully acknowledges the following foundations, organizations and individuals who support our mission and activities throughout the year.


Portrait of Lynn Cullen, host of Lynn Cullen Live at Pittsburgh City Paper. Lynn Cullen, host of Lynn Cullen Live at Pittsburgh City Paper, interviewed Susan Stein during the February 7th edition of the Lynn Cullen Live show. They discussed Etty Hillesum, Susan's play Etty and Susan's upcoming performances at Off The Wall Productions.

How To Book Etty

You can book Etty at your venue. We perform Etty and lead discussions and workshops at primary schools, higher education institutions, community organizations, religious organizations, festivals, and nonprofit theaters. finding-etty travels to prisons throughout the United States and United Kingdom.

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events
Date Location Description
2019 Oct 28 to
2019 Nov 08

In partnership with the Classrooms Without Borders, Artist/Scholar in Residence Susan Stein will lead a full month residency, engaging students and teachers in workshops and class visits working with primary source documents and narratives from the Holocaust, Japanese Internment Camps during WWII, slave narratives and other selected texts to further their understanding of the consequences of antisemitism, racism and hatred.

  • Pittsburgh, PA - Mount Lebanon High School - October 28, 29
  • Pittsburgh, PA - Seneca Valley High school - October 31
  • Pittsburgh, PA - Ryan Gloyer Middle School - November 01, 04
  • Wheeling, WV - Saint Michael Parish School, November 5
  • Wheeling, WV - Wheeling Country Day School
  • Cameron, WV - Cameron High School
  • Wheeling, WV - Triadelphia middle School, November 8
2019 Nov 09 07:00 PM Carnegie Library Lecture Hall, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, US - map.

Performance of Etty followed by post-performance discussion in commemoration of Kristallnacht. Free and open to the public. The The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh's annual Kristallnacht program is generously sponsored by Edgar Snyder. The event is co-sponsored as part of Susan Stein's month long residency underwritten by Classrooms Without Borders. You can Learn more and register for the event.

2018 Nov 12 07:00PM Wallace All Faiths Chapel, Chapman University, 1 University Drive, Orange, CA, US - map.

Performance of Etty followed by discussion with Glenn Schultz. Free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Fish Interfaith Center and the Department of Religious Studies, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. The Joyce and Saul Brandman Foundation Lecture Series.

2019 Nov 14 05:30PM California Institution for Women (CIW), 16756 Chino-Corona Road, Corona, CA, US - map.

Performance of Etty followed by post-performance discussion. Open to the CIW community.



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Modified: 2019 Nov 04