Coming to See Aunt Sophie (2015)
This full-length play is the true story of Jan Karski, both as a young Catholic courier for the Polish Underground during World War II, trying to stop the Holocaust and, thirty years later, as a Georgetown professor, reflecting on the activities of his younger self. Being interviewed for a Holocaust film in 1978, Karski retells
and relives his perilous trip through
Nazi-occupied Europe to England,
then to the United States, using the
secret code "Coming to See Aunt Sophie,"
with hundreds of secret microfilm
documents shrunk to fit in a
hollowed-out key but also with his
eye-witness accounts from sneaking
into the walled-up Warsaw Ghetto
disguised as a Jew and a concentration
camp disguised as a Ukrainian guard.
Unsuccessful in his attempts to meet
Churchill, he arrives in the United States,
giving reports to Justice Frankfurter, a Jewish member of the Supreme Court, and, in July 1943, to President Roosevelt himself. Old Karski and Young Karski confront one another in this stirring drama about a haunted man who is a hero to everybody but himself.
Receiving enthusiastic responses everywhere it has performed, the play premiered this past May at the HERE AND NOW FESTIVAL in Mannheim, Germany.
To celebrate the centenary of Karski’s birth, the Polish government sponsored performances in three Polish cities through the Museum of Polish History, culminating in a profoundly moving performance in Warsaw at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews on the grounds of the Old Jewish ghetto. Its American premiere occurred this past summer in Indiana at the Crossroads Repertory Theatre, followed by September performances in downtown Chicago at the Chopin Theatre, where the standing ovations have continued.