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 Feb 26 to 2020 Mar 05 to
  • Montgomery, AL - Lee High School - Feb 26
  • Montgomery, AL - Sidney Lanier High School - Feb 27
  • Montgomery, AL - Carver High School - Mar 03
  • Montgomery, AL - Jefferson Davis High School - Mar 04 and 05

Through a grant from the Sigal Family Foundation, Artist/Scholar Susan Stein will lead a week-long residency performing her original play, Etty, and leading Recovering Lost Voices workshops. Through primary sources including diaries, memoirs and letters, workshops engage students as they wrestle with issues of social justice and ethical dilemmas.

2020 Feb 27 06:00PM Agudath Israel Etz Ahayem Synagogue, 3525 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery, AL, US - map.

Performance of Etty followed by post-performance discussion. Free and open to the public. There will be a reception following the program. Sponsored by Agudath Israel Etz Ahayem (AIEA), TBO, JFA and the Alabama Holocaust Commission.

2020 May 07 07:00PM
2020 May 08 08:00PM
2020 May 09 07:00PM
Carnegie Stage, 25 West Main Street, Carnegie, PA, US - map.

Performance of Etty. Tickets: $20 general admissions and $5 students. For information and tickets or call 724 873 3576.



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© 2008 finding-etty

Modified: 2020 Feb 24