Etty Hillisum at Amersham

Amersham Meeting House on the 27th January (Holocaust Memorial Day) was the venue for the one woman, Etty, based on the writings of Etty Hillisum (1914 -1943), a Jewish woman whose diaries recorded life in Amsterdam under Nazi occupation and subsequently at the Westerbork concentration camp, where she was held before finally being transported to Auschwitz.

It was an extraordinarily moving performance, which Susan Stein has spent more than two years honing and distilling from Etty’s writings, which were only published in 1981. The letters and diaries reflected Etty’s intensely personal and spiritual journey – her conversations with God, her capacity to find beauty in the most sordid circumstances, the way she managed to separate anger at what was happening from hatred of a people.

“I know a little of history,” she says wryly, referring to the Nazi’s belief that the Third Reich would last for a thousand years.

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