George Stern lost his bar mitzvah in the Holocaust

75 years later the invitation is here



The History


George Stern was supposed to have his bar mitzvah on April 22, 1944. One month before, the Nazis invaded Hungary. My Lost Bar Mitzvah was commissioned by George, and is an original play inspired by his memoir of surviving the Holocaust in Hungary as a hidden child. Playwright Alicia DesMarteau worked with George to select the scenes of his life featured in the play, and conducted extensive interviews with him. Very sadly, in 2017, George passed away. The play is in honour of his story and memory.

DesMarteau comments, “George Stern had an extraordinary life. And yet, when it came time to give a title to his life story, he called it My Lost Bar Mitzvah. The loss of his bar mitzvah in the Holocaust remained with him. The inspiration behind the play My Lost Bar Mitzvah is to restore that moment of honour to him.”




The Story


George Stern shows up for bar mitzvah class 70 years late. Why so late? The answer unfolds as George and his rabbi prepare for his bar mitzvah. A month before George’s 13th birthday, Germany invades Hungary. George’s family is forced into a ghetto. George escapes and goes into hiding, passing as a gentile. He is taken in by a Christian farmer. He winds up in Budapest during the Siege of Budapest, survives a run-in with soldiers from the Nazi-backed Arrow Cross Party, and becomes an air raid commander. The Nazi occupation darkens George’s world, but George’s courage and wit shine through it all. In the final scene, George and his family rehearse for his bar mitzvah. By the end, his bar mitzvah is no longer lost.



Donate to My Lost Bar Mitzvah Workshop and receive a tax receipt Donate Now