Image: Fiona Bawn Thompson in The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WWII
By Una Murphy
Women’s experiences during World War II are to be highlighted in a new play and digital book from Smashing Times Theatre Company.
The company was established in 1991 by a group of women actors, who met at the Focus Theatre, Dublin.
Performances of the new play highlighting the stories will take place throughout the island of Ireland and in Germany from September.
The war stories include:
• Dolores Ibárruri or La Pasionaria (1895-1989), from Spain; she was a revolutionary leader, political activist, communist and crusader against fascism during the Spanish Civil War, who created the famous cry ‘They Shall Not Pass’.
• Marta Hillers (1911-2001) from Germany who wrote her autobiography Eine Frau in Berlin (A Woman in Berlin) under the name ‘Anonyma’ (Anonymous), detailing her experiences of the last days of WWII as she and over one million other women were raped and abused by Allied soldiers of the Red Army
• Mary Elmes (1908-2002), a Cork woman who was the first Irish person honoured as ‘Righteous Among Nations’ for her work saving Jewish children from the Nazi gas chambers during World War II;
• Ettie Steinberg (1914-42) the only female Jewish Irish citizen known to have been murdered in Auschwitz;
• Neus Català Pallejà (b.1915) from Spain who was in the French Resistance during WWII and the only living Spanish survivor of Ravensbrück concentration camp for women;
• Maria Eugenia Jasińska (1906-43) from Łódź in Poland who worked for the resistance and gave up her own life rather than ‘name names’
A link to the Digital Book ‘Women War and Peace’ with background to the women’s war stories from Ireland, Spain, Germany and Poland is available here: http://www.smashingtimes.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/WomenWarandPeace-WomensStories.pdf