Holocaust survival guide inspires play

Holocaust survival guide inspires play

By John Seeley 03/20/2008

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The South Pasadena Public Library hosts a free one-act play, "A Visit with Viktor Frankl," Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Community Room.

Cliff Johnson's play showcases actor Arnold Weiss, who has appeared with Ed Asner, Theodore Bikel, and in more than 200 staged readings for the First Stage Company. Journalist, editor and playwright Cliff Johnson has written five full-length and several shorter plays - this one his most recent.

Born in Vienna in the then-crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire, Frankl witnessed the great philosophical and social upheavals of the early 20th century. During more than three years in Nazi concentration camps, he acted as a doctor and focused on preventing inmate suicides, finding that people could often find a spiritual mind-space that the evil around them couldn't penetrate.

Frankl returned to Vienna, where he continued psychiatric practice and developed his theories of Existential Analysis and "logotherapy." The latter came to be known as the "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy," following Freud's psychoanalysis and Adler's individual psychology.

Frankl's ideas and camp experiences shaped the now-famous book, "Man's Search for Meaning" (originally titled "Saying Yes to Life Regardless"), which was translated into 24 languages and sold more than 9 million copies in English alone. Frankl held professorships at Harvard and other prestigious universities and received 28 honorary doctorates. Other authors have written about Frankl and logotherapy in 145 books.

Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, and the Living History Centre co-sponsor the event.

South Pasadena Public Library, 1100 Oxley St., South Pasadena. Call 626 403-7340..com.

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