Janka is the compelling account of Janka Festinger, a native of Sighet, Romania, who survived the Nazi Holocaust, fell in love and married an American soldier and immigrated to the United States to begin a new. At 70, she shares her life’s voyage.

Click here for a schedule of performances of Janka in cities throughout the United States and Romania.

Breaking News: 

PRESS RELEASE  April 20, 2014

Follow Janka Festinger's Holocaust story as it unfolded 70 years ago on twitter @JankaFestinger

    May 16, 2014 will be the 70th anniverary when the Jews of Sighet, Romania were transported to Auschwitz, the Nazi's most notorious death camp. These Romanian Jews were part of Hitler's "Hungarian Solution" during the last year of World War II. Hungary had annexed the Transylvania region of Romania in 1940.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

    Janka Festinger and her family were on the first train that departed Sighet that fateful morning. The eight day train ride in cattle cars took its toll. They arrived in Auschwitz near midnight on May 23rd. In the next year, Janka will recount this journey and her story with daily and weekly tweets... you will walk in her footsteps as she lived it 70 years ago.

    Follow Janka on twitter @JankaFestinger.

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 phone 9360 7999, email rsvp@sjm.com.au or visit www.sydneyjewishmuseum.com.au

For more information contact Oscar Speace at ospeace@earthlink.net or

Aviva Wolff at admin@sjm.com.au

JANKA will continue to tour in Romania through 2014. An agreement has been reached with Artistic Director Maia Morgenstern and the Jewish Theatre of Bucharest. Director Toma Enache said that the Janka performance at the Jewish Theatre in Bucharest on April 7 was well received.  Maia's performance was powerful. The audience gave her a long standing ovation. This performance on Holocaust Memorial Day also coincided with Janice Noga's emotional and powerful performances at two packed venues in Great Neck, New York. Janka's cousin Clara Notovitz, a Holocaust survivor, was recognized and honored at the Great Neck North High School performance. In other news, Janice Noga gave a riveting performance of  Janka at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fresno, California on June 15. In the Q & A that followed audience members expressed a deep and sincere thank you for telling Janka's story.

Janka was also presented at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Click here for details...

Click here for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe video.