'Holocaust play was hard to watch - because I was there'
THE whole Swansea audience found Kindertransport — a play about the Holocaust — emotional to watch, but no one more so than Ellen Davis — because she was actually there.
When Fluellen Theatre Company set about staging Diana Samuels's award-winning play, about Jewish children fleeing Nazi Germany before the full horror of death camps and genocide unfolded, it asked for any Swansea-based survivors to come forward.
Ellen Davis, 83, of Pennard, saw the story in the Evening Post and got in touch.
Mrs Davis arrived in Swansea in 1939 as one of 10,000 Jewish children sent abroad to escape Nazi atrocities.
The rest of her family, including her brother and sisters, were sent to Latvia where they were shot and killed.
Fluellen's founder, Peter Richards, said: "Her story is a remarkable one, and although it is different from the central character in the play, there are so many similarities it was uncanny.
"She was in two minds whether to watch the play; she had seen a production of Kindertransport before and found it harrowing to sit through it, obviously, because of the subject matter.
"But she decide to come. It would be ridiculous to say she enjoyed it but she had to come."
As well as meeting the cast, Mrs Davis attended a schools workshop held at Swansea Grand Theatre.
Mr Richards said: "She spoke about her experiences and the audience was totally gripped, you would have heard a pin drop all the way through. It certainly left a mark on everybody who listened to her talk.
"She feels very strongly about this and made a big plea for toleration.
"Tolerance for other people, nationalities, races and other religions. As she said most forceably, without toleration we just ferment the ground that will lead to another Third Reich."
Mrs Davis said: "I lost my mother, four brothers and two sisters. The eldest one was 12, the youngest just 2. They were all shot.
"I found the play difficult to watch because I was there. I am the only one in Swansea who was there. Everyone in Swansea should see this play.
"History repeats itself and unless you know your history your future will be repeated. Holocausts are holocausts and they keep on repeating. You must teach the children about the past."
Mrs Davis's remarkable story is currently being told at the Waterfront Museum. She added: "It's free and it tells the whole story, not just of me but others, too."