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Irena's Vow is a Broadwaymarker play recounting the story of Irena Gut, a Polish nurse who, at the risk of her life, saved twelve Jews during World War II in Germanmarker-occupied Polandmarker.

Production history

The play opened at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre at 219 West 48th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue) on 29 March 2009, after having premiered off-Broadway at the Baruch Performing Arts Center in September 2008. The ninety-minute play opened at the Kerr Theatre with the same cast from off-Broadway.

The play was written by Dan Gordon, based on conversations that he had held with Irene Gut-Opdyke (née Irena Gut). Gordon "captures... peculiarly Polish elements: the heroine's irony and sense of humor in the face of catastrophe." He deftly draws the historic backdrop to Irena's story and creates a suspenseful narrative and "enthralling dialog."

Dan Gordon was greatly criticized for historical revisionism by inaccurately portraying the birth of a baby as taking place in the German Major's villa, when in fact the baby was born in the outskirts of a nearby forest, calling into question the entire veracity of the play. During the course of the play, this significant story element played into the hands of antiabortionists who used this fictional accounting of the story to promote their political agenda.

The title role is played by Tovah Feldshuh. Appearing in other roles are Sandi Carroll, Tracee Chimo, Steven Hauck, Scott Klaven, Peter Reznikoff, Thomas Ryan, Gene Silvers, John Stanisci and Maja Wampuszyc (a Polish actress who plays a Jewess).

Irena's Vow is directed by Michael Parva. Scenic design is by Kevin Judge; lighting design, David Castaneda; costume design, Astrid Brucker; sound design and music composition, Quentin Chiappetta; and projection design, Alex Koch.

On June 16, 2009 it was announced that Irena's Vow will close on June 28. At the time of its closure, it will have played 21 previews and 105 regular performances.


After Polandmarker was invaded by Germanymarker and the Soviet Unionmarker in September 1939, Irena Gut, a Polish Catholic nurse twenty-one years old at the outbreak of World War II, was captured by the Soviet Army. After escaping, she was caught in a German roundup to be used as a slave laborer.

Eventually she became the housekeeper to a German army major. After she witnessed the gruesome fate of Jews in German-occupied Poland, Gut resolved at the risk of her life to conceal a dozen Jews threatened by the German Holocaust extermination program. The penalty that the Germans imposed on any Pole found to be harboring or otherwise aiding Jews was death.

One day Gut's employer discovered that she was concealing Jews in his house. Gut begged him to spare them; he agreed to, and never betrayed them or her. Gut became the German officer's mistress. Before the Red Army arrived, she fled with the people that she was protecting into the forest. After the war, suspected falsely by some of having collaborated with the Germans, she emigrated to the United States.

See also


  1. "Przysięga Ireny" ("Irena's Vow"), Gwiazda Polarna (Pole Star), vol. 100, no. 7 (March 28, 2009), p. 14.
  2. Andrew Gans, "Feldshuh to Return to Broadway in March in Irena's Vow",, 22 December 2008.
  3. "Truth in Irena's Vow" Upstaged - The World of Theatre, Adam Feldman, April 3, 2009
  4. [1] "Pro-Faith, Pro-Life Broadway Play, Irena’s Vow, Receives Critical Acclaim", June 18, 2009
  5. Gans, Andrew. "Irena's Vow to Close on Broadway June 28,", June 16, 2009


  • "Przysięga Ireny" ("Irena's Vow"), Gwiazda Polarna (Pole Star), vol. 100, no. 7 (March 28, 2009), p. 14.

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