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'Irena's Vow' at Kent State based on true story of World War II hero

Published: October 8, 2016 12:00 AM

The School of Theatre and Dance at Kent State University continues its 2016-2017 season with "Irena's Vow," a drama by Dan Gordon that is based on the life of Irena Gut Opdyke. The production runs Oct. 14 through 23 in Wright-Curtis Theatre, in the Center for the Performing Arts, 1325 Theatre Dr. at Kent State University.

For tickets call 330-672-ARTS (2787), purchase online at www.kent.edu/theatredance or in person at the Performing Arts Box Office located in the Roe Green Center lobby of the Center for the Performing Arts at 1325 Theatre Drive.

Directed by assistant professor Amy Fritsche, "Irena's Vow" chronicles the incredible story of Irena Gut Opdyke, a young Polish Catholic woman whose life and death choice at the height of The Holocaust saved the lives of more than a dozen Jewish workers.

Born in 1922, Opdyke was working as a forced laborer in Nazi-occupied Poland when she witnessed the murder of an infant by a Nazi soldier. This event galvanized Irena to use her position as housekeeper for a German army officer to aid Jews by smuggling food to them in the ghettos and later by smuggling them into the nearby forest. Later, Opdyke saved 12 Jews slated for deportation by hiding them in the basement of the Nazi officer's residence. Opdyke, who died in 2003, was recognized by the Israel Holocaust Commission as one of the "Righteous Among Nations" and was presented the Israel Medal of Heroes by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.

For more information on The School of Theatre and Dance's production of "Irena's Vow," visit http://www.kent.edu/theatredance.

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