East Bay Fiddler rehearsal takes a serious turn

A group of young actors preparing to stage “Fiddler on the Roof” in the East Bay in February had a special visitor last week: Sam Genirberg of El Cerrito.

Holocaust survivor Sam Genirberg talks to Alana Goldberg (who plays Tzeitel). photo/laura soble

Genirberg spoke about his youth in Poland in the late 1930s and how, in order to survive the Holocaust, he made the difficult decision to leave his family at age 18. His daring story was detailed by J. last year and is the center of his book “Among the Enemy: Hiding in Plain Sight in Nazi Germany.”

The actors — from seventh grade through early college — were a rapt audience and asked many thoughtful questions. Connections between pre-Holocaust Europe and the Russian pogroms (as depicted in “Fiddler on the Roof”) also were discussed, with assistance from Rabbi Dean Kertesz of Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond, who is also a high school history teacher.

The Jan. 23 gathering took place in the Youth Musical Theater Company’s Berkeley rehearsal space. The 31-member cast’s production of “Fiddler” is scheduled to run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Feb. 20 to March 1 at El Cerrito High School’s Performing Arts Theater. For information, visit www.ymtc