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Radio play reading marks 75th anniversary of Warsaw ghetto uprising

A reading of a vintage radio play called "The Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto" will be presented next Thursday in Burbank on the 75th anniversary of the days when Jewish residents in the Polish city took up arms against Nazi occupiers who sought to deport them to concentration camps during World War II.

The armed resistance lasted from April 19 to May 16, 1943. It inspired other revolts in concentration camps and ghettos throughout German-occupied Eastern Europe, according to historians.

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The radio play was originally broadcast by NBC in December 1943.

The local reading is sponsored, in part, by the Burbank Human Relations Council.

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"In addition to being about the physical fighting, it's also about the spiritual battles," said Rabbi Mark Sobel, who is directing the reading. "It talks about classes and what people did to save each other's lives."

Fourteen volunteers, a mixture of amateur and professional actors, will read multiple roles at the event, according to Sobel.

Konstantine Anthony, who will play a Jewish underground member and a Nazi commander, called the radio play's message "very prescient" for a modern audience.

"The ideas of oppression and racism still hold true. We still learn about it and read about it," he said. "[The uprising] is an important landmark to revisit, especially in the current political climate."

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During the reading, a documentary about the uprising will be shown behind the actors. Sobel said the film, titled "912 Days of the Warsaw Ghetto," will give the audience a closer connection to the material by seeing actual footage of the city during the uprising.

"The characters will come out from the anonymous people of the documentary," Sobel said. "It brings them out into it, so the words will have a physical shape and form."

The reading will be presented at 7 p.m. next Thursday in Room 104 of the Burbank Community Services Building, 150 N. Third St. The event will also feature a question-and-answer session.

For more information, contact the Burbank Human Relations Council at (818) 860-2472 or TheBHRC@gmail.com.

Twitter: @Andy_Truc

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