PRESS RELEASE  January 8, 2014

Auschwitz Through the Eyes of a Survivor


   A letter penned by a Holocaust Survivor following liberation from Auschwitz was the inspiration for the play Janka, showing at the Sydney Jewish Museum in February. Janka Festinger grew up in Sighet and was deported to Auschwitz in May 1944. Following liberation from slave labor in Germany, she married an American soldier and immigrated to the USA in 1946 to live the ‘American Dream.’


   Shortly after her liberation, Janka wrote to an uncle, detailing a gripping eyewitness account of Auschwitz. This letter was discovered many years later and inspired Janka’s son Oscar Speace to write a play about his mother’s experiences.


   The family connection continues with American actress and Janka’s daughter-in-law Janice Noga performing the one-woman play.  There is also a strong Australian tie to Janka’s story, as her cousins immigrated to join family members who had been imprisoned in Japanese internment camps and following their liberation had moved to Australia.

   This production of Janka will unite the family in Sydney to remember Janka’s life, the Festinger family and the persecution of the Romania Jews at the hands of the Nazis.

   There are two performances of the play on Tuesday 11 February at 7pm and Sunday 16 February at 4pm. Tickets are $25.


   To book, email or visit

For more information contact Oscar Speace at or

Aviva Wolff at


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The Janka Project

P.O. Box 4289

Fresno, CA 93744-4289

Phone: (559) 284-8247



Janka Festinger's Moments of Happiness

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Fresno Arts Council

1245 Van Ness Avenue

Fresno, CA 93721

Phone: (559) 237-9734