By Celeste Raspanti
Cast: 4m., 4w. (Extras can include children, soldiers, guards.) The liberation of Terezin concentration camp is at hand, and the Nazis are in retreat, desperate to destroy evidence of their crimes. While some prisoners escape hidden in the confusion of the retreat, Raja Englanderova remains to keep a promise she made to their teacher, Irena: she will not leave without the drawings and poems of the Terezin children. She convinces her friends and Hanus, the leader of the boys' group, that they must find the buried bundles and hidden suitcases before the Nazis destroy the camp and them with it. Their search is ended by a wounded Nazi soldier who finds them in the attic and threatens them with his weapon. Across the room the Hitler youth and the youth of Terezin challenge each other for survival—the soldier wants to save his honor and go home; Hanus wants to revenge years of hunger, slavery and humiliation. Raja wants to keep the promise—save the drawings and poems and take them to Prague. In the end, strengthened by Irena's lessons of healing hope, they leave revenge and anger in the past. With the survival of the Terezin children safe in two large battered suitcases, they walk out through the gates of Terezin toward Prague, free—and hopeful. Area staging. Approximate running time: 40 minutes (depending on use of music and sound).