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
2020 Jan 06 09:00 AM
2020 Jan 07 09:00 AM
Forrestdale School, 60 Forrest Avenue, Rumson, NJ, US - map.

Teaching Artist Susan Stein will lead two day workshop on I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai. Sponsored by chhange.

2020 Jan 12 01:30PM  03:30PM Rodef Shalom, 4905 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, US - map.

Oyneg Shabes (עונג שבת‎): Teacher Training Workshop with Susan Stein, Classrooms Without Borders resident Teaching Artist, leads an interactive and collaborative workshop looking closely at some documents from the Ringeblum Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto. Workshop will discuss different forms of resistance.

Sponsored by Classrooms Without Borders. Free and open to the public. Registration is required.

2020 Jan 13 to 2020 Jan 18 Jewish Education Center of Cleveland (JECC), 2030 South Taylor Road, Cleveland, OH.

In partnership with the JECC, Artist/Scholar in Residence Susan Stein will lead a week-long residency, performing her original play, Etty, leading Recovering Lost Voices workshops, using diaries to create empathy.

  • Cleveland, OH - Hawken School - Jan 13
  • Cleveland, OH - Laurel School - Jan 13
  • Cleveland, OH - Citizens Leadership Academy / Mandel Jewish Day School Jan14
  • Cleveland, OH - Cleveland Heights High School - Jan 15
  • Cleveland, OH - JECC - Jan 15
  • Cleveland, OH - Laurel School - Jan 16
  • Cleveland, OH - Cleveland Heights High School - Jan 16
2020 Jan 21 to 24 West Mifflin Area High School, 91 Commonwealth Avenue, West Mifflin, PA, US - map.

In partnership with Classrooms Without Borders, Artist/Scholar in Residence Susan Stein will lead a week-long residency, engaging students and teachers in workshops in close readings of Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehesi Coates, and the conversations that Follow. Sponsored by Classrooms Without Borders.

2020 Jan 25 05:45PM Ansche Chesed, 251 West 100th Street, New York, NY, US - map.

Hearing Women's Voices from the Holocaust. In conversation with Holocaust Scholar, Professor Atina Grossman. Beginning with a performance of an excerpt of the play, Etty, Stein and Professor Grossman look together at excerpts from Hillesum’s and other testimonies to uncover what women experienced under German occupation. Join us to think about how gender, age and family context shaped women’s lives in flight, ghettos, concentration and death camps and in hiding. Our conversation will include talking about the process of performing Etty before so many different audiences, including high security prisons, and people disconnected from Holocaust history.

Free and open to the public. Sponsored by Ansche Chesed.



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© 2008 finding-etty

Modified: 2020 Jan 06