Holocaust Memorial Day: Broughton Youth Theatre's performance of The Singer of Shanghai tells a compelling but little-known story about Jewish refugees in China – Angus Robertson
Holocaust Memorial Day at the end of January marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and commemorates the victims of Nazi persecution and all other genocides.
In Edinburgh, the Interfaith Association and Edinburgh Jewish Cultural Centre organised the UK premier of a new play, The Singer of Shanghai. It tells the story of the 'Shanghai Jews', the Jewish refugees who made it to the Chinese city during the Second World War, celebrating their courage and also the compassion of the Chinese people who offered them refuge. Between 1933 and 1945 more than 20,000 Jews from Germany, Austria and Poland made the 7,000km journey to safety and survived the Holocaust as a result.
The play, performed by drama students at Broughton High School, was directed by the playwright, who is a renowned historian and expert on the Jewish refugees of Shanghai – Professor Kevin Ostoyich of Valparaiso University in the USA. It is a moving and compelling story which is not widely known.
None of this would be possible without the ten talented third-year pupils of Broughton Youth Theatre, led by principal drama teacher Siobhan Wyman. Professor Joe Goldblatt who chairs the Edinburgh Interfaith Association arranged to bring this play to Scotland with the help of the Adam Leven Family Trust.
I’m hugely proud of everyone at my former school, its inspirational headteacher John Wilson and the whole team involved in the production. It will play its part in ensuring that we never forget the lessons of the Holocaust.
Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary