At age 13, Jack Garfein and his family were taken from their native Czechoslovakia to Auschwitz, the infamous World War II German extermination camp.
Two years later, when the camp was liberated by U.S. troops, Garfein was the only member of his immediate family still alive. He eventually made his way to an uncle living in the U.S., and worked his way up on Broadway, where he directed his first hit play at age 25.
Jack Garfein, author and lecturer
Garfein will speak about “The Life of a Holocaust Survivor and Theatre-Film Artist” at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at the University Union, Golden Eagle Suite.
After arriving in the U.S., Garfein took acting classes at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York City and joined The Actors Studio. After appearing in a few Broadway plays, he made his Broadway debut as a director in 1953. He also produced two plays by Arthur Miller, “The Price” and “The American Clock,” and directed many Broadway and off-Broadway productions and the world premiere of Samuel Beckett’s “Nacht and Traume” in Austria.
In 1957, he directed the first of three Hollywood films, The Strange One. His other film credits include 1961’s Something Wild, for which he co-wrote the screenplay, and the 1987 documentary The Journey Back, which chronicles Garfein’s return to Auschwitz.