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  U.S. & International Responses to Metronome Ticking

Word about the play is spreading fast, both here and abroad, thanks to the Internet.  From the press coverage of our first performance in the Jewish Exponent, the response to this docudrama is overwhelming: every few hours someone writes in from the US or overseas; some even write shockingly honest mail.  Thanks to everyone who shared his or her thoughts. If you have seen Metronome Ticking and would like to share your responses, please feel free to send in your thoughts and responses to this docudrama, together with your permission to post it on this website.  
 
A 45-minute version of the play is now also available for performances in schools, synagogues, churches, and community groups. If you would like to host or produce Metronome Ticking at your theatre, community center, or other venue, feel free to contact us.
 
Bob Spitz holding Alf Eger's photo and Henrik Eger holding Lily Spitz's photo
 
Clearly, people were touched by your work on a very deep level.  I always believe that creativity is the very best way to deal with primal pain. 
 
Somehow, an almost unbearable experience gets transformed into a universal statement that becomes exhilarating for the performers and the audience
 
Bravo, Henrik!  I know that this experience has been and will continue to be deeply healing.
 
Ruth Campbell, Counselor, DCCC, Media, PA
 
Heinrich Himler, Nazi officers, and Spanish Foreign Minister Ramón Serrano Súñer Berlin 1941

Congratulations to you and “Robby” for a wonderful performance.  You both deserve a world of credit for both bravely taking the risk in opening a very private door as well as for your technical skill in developing a superb literary work and production. 
 
Larry Woodward, Professor of Architecture, DCCC, Media, PA
 
Coincidence to some can become destiny to others. Thank you for caring about this world.  You have made it a better place by choosing to fully live your life following your heart and beliefs. 
 
Terri Reese
 

Henrik Eger holding up photo of his father, Alf Eger, and Mira Hirsch, holding up photo of Lily Spitz

Being raised Catholic and in an Italian family, I was not exposed to very many Jewish people growing up, and I never really comprehended what it’s like being Jewish. 
 
Since then, I have Jewish friends and have had much exposure to Jewish people as a result of my nursing career, but I still didn't "Get it."
 
However, as a result of your docudrama, I now realize that being Jewish is more than being Italian, being Catholic (or any other background): it is more of a global culture that is ingrained in every aspect of a Jewish person's life.
 
So, if just one person can become more understanding of her fellow human beings as a result of your work, then it was definitely worthwhile and achieved your purpose
 
I am sure there are others like myself that got something meaningful from it as well.
 
Michelle Guerin, President, Delaware County chapter of Toastmasters International 
   
"When we refuse to bear witness
to the divine image in each human being,
we diminish the divine image within ourselves."
 
The child of the oppressor bears the shame, the child of the oppressed bears the scars
--both live with grief.
Our sacred Torah teaches us: Abraham, our father, had two sons. One he banished, the other he almost slaughtered as an olah, a holocaust offering, to his God. Brothers separated from each other and severed from their past. In this symbolic story related to our own time, may Abraham’s sons be our teachers, for when Abraham breathed his last … and was gathered to his people, his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the Cave of Machpelah together (Gen 25:8-9). Thus did the children know healing. So may it be for our children and our children’s children throughout the generations.

Thank you for including me in your moving and provocative program. It is important work.

Shalom, Rabbi Meryl Crean, Martins Run, Media, PA Part of her speech at the first performance of Metronome Ticking at Martins Run, Media, PA, on November 9, 2006, 68 years after Kristallnacht

“If all of you had only understood something of the Jewish spirit, its tolerance, its capacity to suffer,
and its readiness to help others!”
 
“Wenn ihr nur etwas vom jüdischen Geist, seiner Toleranz und seiner Leidensfähigkeit und -bereitschaft für andere begriffen hättet!”
 
Dr. Peter Hohn, Hamburg, Germany, from a speech on his father's 80th birthday and family reunion , addressing the darkest chapter in German history (Dr. Hohn Sr., a dentist and contemporary of Ernst-Alfred Eger).
 
Dr. Peter Hohn heads the Sütterlinstube in Hamburg, Germany, whose members volunteer to transcribe hundreds of old German letters and diaries in the old Sütterlin script, including 2000 pages of Alf’s letters from occupied France.
 
"I HOPE YOUR PLAY IS HEARD ALL OVER THE WORLD AS A GREAT WARNING"
 
I was very moved by METRONOME TICKING, and was affected on many levels.  First, many of your father's writings were very interesting to me because of his choice of words that I frequently wanted the play to stop so I could think more about a letter.  Second, I loved the whole idea of interweaving the writings between your father and Bob's mother to tell a story.  I found Lily's memoirs to be very sweet.  I thought she probably never dreamed that her words would be shared and touch so many people as she wrote them, nor did your father.  I also loved the way she wrote about Bob, and your father wrote about you--both so happy to have each of you as a son.  Thirdly, much of the subject matter was painful to hear, but I was glad to have such a personal perspective, especially from Lily's point of view.  Hearing her regret over leaving her mother behind was heart-wrenching to me. Finally, being able to revisit the terrible events serves as a great warning and reminder to us as human beings to respect everyone's rights, whether we agree with them or not.  I hope that your play is heard all over the world.
 
Sincerely, Terri Dorety, DCCC
 
THIRD REICH PERPETRATORS, FOLLOWERS, & FELLOW TRAVELERS: "YOUR OPENNESS IS A VERY, VERY GOOD THING"
 
Even now, in Germany, survivors of the Holocaust reach out, especially to young people and school groups.  This is good, of course, because a number like "six million" has no meaning, but meeting an individual who actually experienced these horrors and hearing his/her personal experiences does.  What I miss, however, is for non-Jewish "Zeitzeugen" [“fellow travelers”] to speak about their experiences, about what they knew or did not know, what they observed, what decisions they had to make and how they did so, and how they see this era today.  
 
We worry about current-day adherents to racism or ethnic stereotypes or neo-Nazism, but we do not necessarily understand the thought processes of such people.  Hearing from not only the "perpetrators," but also the "Mitläufer" [“followers”] and the powerless during the Third Reich would be a help, for today and for understanding the past.  So your openness is a very, very good thing.
Susan Salms-Moss, Mannheim, Germany, & New York, American opera singer and translator
 
"THIS PLAY IS A TESTAMENT TO THE REALITY OF OUR HUMANNESS"
 
I really enjoyed Metronome Ticking and found it very thought-provoking. My father was in the US Army and fought in WWII, which is just one more dimension of the whole story.  What I felt after seeing this program was that we all have some connection to this time in history, which wasn't that long ago. Your personal story-- how you did not know all the details about your father, how you met Bob, and how you have woven a story of people's lives together to share with the world, to heal old wounds--is very powerful and touching.  This play is a testament to the reality of our humanness, our connectedness, and the potential for unity, raising our consciousness.  May a Spirit of peace renew our world. 
 
With love, Rose Winstanley-Trefz
 
VERY POWERFUL MESSAGE: "MAY YOUR STORIES BE TOLD TO FUTURE GENERATIONS"
 
"Yasher Koach" ["Congratulations"] to you and Henrik Eger on the most outstanding performance, Bob!  By using your mother's voice and words, one could just see and feel her presence.  It was a very powerful message and this certainly showed itself by your captivated audience.  Not a dry eye in the theatre!  May your stories be told to all future generations. 
 
Fondly, Maureen and Nissen Isakov
 
METRONOME TICKING WOULD BE WELL RECEIVED IN EUROPE
 
These days the newspapers in Germany are reporting about Jewish neighbors who have experienced those terrible times during WWII and who are visiting schools and talk about those times.  Certainly an important way of presenting the facts. The people of the Third Reich generation never talked to their children about those times.  Not my parents, not my parents-in-law.  And at school that was not a topic for my generation.  I do not believe that any young person today should feel guilty about the horrors that were committed during the Third Reich.  However, every individual ought to become aware that they did happen and that we all must learn from the past to make sure that those things never occur again.  For that your docudrama is ideally suited.      
 
Frank and Rosi Bernhardt, Kirchseeon, near Munich, Germany
 
PERFORMING METRONOME TICKING AND KINDERTRANSPORT IN TANDEM:
  A supportive but also a challenging response from England
 
The two of you have clearly created something remarkable and truly memorable, particularly in how you deal with your father's racism, which, appalling though it is to us, is equally demanding of understanding and forgiveness.  I was an impressionable 16-year-old in 1945, and my whole attitude to life, death and human nature has been controlled ever since by two images from that fateful summer: the shocking pictures of survivors emerging from Bergen-Belsen and the first photos of the aftermath of Hiroshima.  
 
Now, 60 years later, I feel at times an almost intolerable sadness, despite the fine and noble efforts of people like Bob and yourself.  We are currently rehearsing the play Kindertransport at the Medway Little Theatre, another revisiting of the parental past.  No doubt you know the story: some 10,000 mainly Jewish children sent to Britain just before the war, many with changed names and roots denied. Remarkably, we have found two of the original Kindertransport children living in nearby Maidstone.  Perhaps we should be performing Kindertransport  in tandem with Metronome Ticking.  With much affection, and congratulations to you both, Dan Willis, Kent, England
 
GRIPPING PLAY BROUGHT BACK CHILDHOOD IN DISPLACED CHILDREN'S CAMP
 
I lived in Vienna for 6 years--1946-1952--in the Displaced Persons camps. Metronome Ticking was a gripping presentation--all of us in the audience were very involved.
 
Stefanie Seltzer, President, World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust
Henrik Eger on left, and Bob Spitz discussing their parents documents from the Third Reich with audience members at Martins Run
 
Dear Bob and Henrik, I want to thank you for a very powerful and moving performance last night. Words can not express the power of seeing you two read the words of your parents.  
 
Your reading is a lesson for the world and as such must be shared with others.  I could think of no more appropriate way to commemorate Kristallnacht.  Peace be with you both.  May you two be a model of healing.  Shabbat Shalom,
 
Deborah Baer Mozes, Artistic Director, Theatre Ariel, the Jewish Theatre of Philadelphia  
 
 

Metronome Ticking was an extremely moving and powerful performance.  Bob, you recreated your beloved Mother exquisitely.  I could see her delivering the words in her charming and ladylike way.  Henrik, I sensed so many different emotions from you. Your father was an eloquent writer, although misdirected as were most of his generation -- and his message came through very clearly.
 
Congratulations to you both!  Both my mother and my husband cried! 
 
With love to you both,
Rochelle "Shelly" J. Matusow, Theatre Ariel 
 
 

Bob Spitz, son of Jewish Holocaust survivors, holding hands with Henrik Eger, son of Third Reich war correspondent and propaganda officer
 
A very thought-provoking experience. I felt it was greatly enhanced by being performed in a senior care complex that preserves Jewish values and culture.
 
Not having had a direct experience with the horrors of a World War, it was appealing to me, a representative of a younger generation, to see the courage behind presenting such a topic to that particular audience.  They received it well and with a great respect for both you and Mr. Spitz.  Congratulations to you on a “packed house.”
 
Sharan Knoell, German Society of Pennsylvania 
 

I thought the reviews of Metronome Ticking were much more than complimentary. 
 
You've touched a chord deep within many people and in doing so you've gone a long way to help fulfill the pledge "Never again." 
 
Herzlich and Namaste,
Jean and Jim Allen, N. Carolina 
  
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