She’s 90 now and an Auschwitz survivor. But when she’s dancing, Fahidi is 18 again, as she replays the carefree days in Hungary before the horror. Then her youthful motions slow, the lights dim and a black-clad figure enters the stage.
More than 60 years after the concentration camps were liberated, Fahidi began retelling her story, first in words, then in movement. Her memoir, “The Soul of Things,” was published in 2011 in German, and later translated into Hungarian. She began dancing again to find another outlet for the painful memories.
Fahidi’s mother, father and sister entered the concentration camp with her, but she never saw them again after their arrival. She had lost 49 relatives by the end of the Holocaust.
“A small movement of the finger from Josef Mengele meant life or death, whether you go right to work or left to the gas chambers,” Fahidi said to Agence France-Presse. “I went right.”
“You can express yourself much better and more precisely with gestures and especially with dance than verbally,” Fahidi said in an interview with Reuters.
This week marks Fahidi’s first time performing before an audience. The performance delves into the relationship between older adults who have experienced such trauma and the generations after them, personified by Fahidi and dancer Emese Cuhorka.
The duet was met with a standing ovation in Berlin after its inaugural performance before International Holocaust Remembrance Day.