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.

ettyplay inc 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. ettyplay 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 ettyplay inc 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.

Reviews and interviews

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.

Amanda Waltz February 6th Pittsburgh City Paper article examines Susan Stein's introduction to Etty Hillesum and her the evolution of her play, Etty.

Abby Remer wrote a review of Etty in The Martha's Vineyard Times during Susan's recent tour of the Northeast.

Portrait of Frank Stastio, host of The State of
        Things on North Carolina Public Radio. Frank Stasio, the host of The State of Things on North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC, interviewed Susan about Etty Hillesum and her play Etty on Thursday, March 14th, 2013. Susan also performed excerpts from her play. You can listen on The State of Things "The Hidden Diaries of a Young Jewish Woman" web page or stream the podcast directly.


Finding Etty gratefully acknowledges the following foundations, organizations and individuals who support our mission and activities throughout the year.

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. ettyplay inc 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 Feb 15 11:00 AM University of North Carolina (UNCC) Campus, 9201 University City Boulevard, Charlotte, NC, US - map.

Stein engages students in a close reading of Etty Hillesum's letters in Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies class.

2019 Feb 11 04:00PM 400 Clement Avenue, Charlotte, NC, US - map.

Salon performance of Etty followed by post-performance discussion. Proceeds from this event will help bring Etty and "Recovering Lost Voices" to an under served school. Suggested donation: $20. For more information, or to RSVP, contact Robin Tynes <>.



  1. Home
  2. The Play
  3. Reviews
  4. Testimonials
  5. Finding Etty
  6. Donate
  7. Contact Us
  8. About Us
  9. Partners
  10. Resources
  11. Prison Project
  12. Study Guide
  13. Colophon
  1. Events
  2. Finding Etty

© 2008 ettyplay inc

Modified: 2019 Feb 16