Graduation Year

Fall 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Betty Bernhard

Reader 2

Thomas Leabhart

Reader 3

Alma Martinez

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© 2012 Roxanne Cook


This thesis paper presents the research and character development process that I undertook to play the role of Eva, in the Pomona College Fall 2012 production of Diane Samuels’ award winning play, Kindertransport. In the ten-months prior to the 1938 outbreak of World War II, nearly 10,000 predominately Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland were evacuated to Great Britain to escape the looming Holocaust. The program was given the name, Kindertransport (children’s transports) by German railway officials because only unaccompanied children under the age of 17 were allowed to leave. Once the Kinder arrived in England, host families took them in for what was believed to be a temporary stay. At the time, no one could have foreseen the challenges and consequences for the children that had been separated from their families and heritage. Samuels' play examines the themes of separation, survival and denial of one’s past through the character Eva, who at the age of nine is sent to England on one of the transports. The first part of this thesis concerns the historical events leading to the disenfranchisement of the European Jews, as well as the people and politics that were a part of the Kindertransport rescue network. The second aspect of this paper addresses the staging of Samuels’ play, my character study, and the role preparation that I carried out to play a Jewish German girl from the age of 9 through 17.

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