Protective Custody


Written by Charles LaBorde

Based on the memoir by Susan Cernyak-Spatz


Directed by Dennis Delamar

Starring Leslie Giles and Paula Baldwin

World Premiere

November 1-3 and 7-9, 2019 at 8:00pm

Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square

345 N. College St, Charlotte, 28202

Tickets available now through Carolina Tix

$22 in advance, $28 at the door

Groups of 10 or more: $18 in advance through the Blumenthal Box Office

Discounted pricing available for students, teachers and ASC Connect with Culture cardholders. Learn More

Other Fees: All tickets are subject to 7.25% NC Sales Tax and a $3 Facility Fee, a 13.5% service charge applies to all internet and phone sales

To redeem 2019-2020 Season Flex Passes,
please call the Blumenthal Box Office at 704-372-1000

Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 contains some adult language and disturbing content related to the Holocaust, recommended for ages 16+


This project was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The world premiere of a harrowing true story


Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 is a raw new play, written by Charles LaBorde and based on the memoir of well-known Charlotte Holocaust survivor Dr. Susan Cernyak-Spatz.


Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 brings the audience on Susan’s personal experiences as a young woman in Europe during the rise of Nazism and her riveting survival of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps. A universal story of survival and the strength of the human spirit in the most extreme circumstances, is told beautifully by a two-person cast as they bring Susan’s story to life and reflect on the current rise of antisemitism.


The world premiere of Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 will be produced by Three Bone Theatre in November 2019 under the direction of famed Charlotte director Dennis Delamar. The first public reading of the script was presented on December 13, 2018 at the second anniversary celebration of the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice. The evening celebrated all of our Charlotte community’s more than three dozen Holocaust survivors and the successes of the Greenspon Center’s first two years.

Read Susan's Story

Meet the Artists

Make a Donation to the project

Community Partner

Support the Production

The world premiere production of Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 is a significant undertaking. Our team of professional artists are committing over a year to design, rehearsals and preparations to bring this production to the stage in November 2019.


We need your support to help make this project a reality.


Donations of any size are appreciated. Any funds donated to this project will be used exclusively for the development and production of Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 and are tax-deductible up to the limits allowed by law.


In addition to individual donations, we have a variety of sponsorship packages available for companies, organizations or individuals who are interested in making a significant investment in this project.


Please visit the donation page at the link below to learn more. If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact us at


About Dr. Susan Cernyak-Spatz

Dr. Cernyak-Spatz lived in Berlin from 1929-1936, attending grade school until age 10 and then attending Lyceum (higher education girls’ school). In 1936 her parents moved to Vienna where the family business had a branch. Hitler’s occupation of Austria in March, 1938 put an end to her existence as a carefree adolescent by forcing her and her family to become refugees in Prague, Czechoslovakia, leaving all their possessions behind in Vienna. Her father managed to leave Czechoslovakia on August 31, 1939 for Brussels, via Poland where he was able to outrun the German invasion. She and her mother were trapped and eventually, in May, 1942 deported to Theresienstadt. Upon her arrival there, her mother was selected for a further destination “East” which, although she did not know it, meant certain death.

Cernyak-Spatz stayed in Theresienstadt until January, 1943 when she was sent on transport “East” which by that time meant Auschwitz. Due to the fact that Auschwitz-Birkenau was a labor-cum-extermination camp, she was selected for “outside work” and managed to survive the first critical two months in which prisoners in Birkenau either survived typhus and the other many diseases running rampant in the camp or died. In the course of the two years in which she was in the camp, she learned the rules of survival which included an “inside job” to avoid the daily selections, marching to and from backbreaking outside work, or the only alternative, going into the “gas.”

Cernyak-Spatz managed to find connections, a job and relative security within the administrative hierarchy of Auschwitz-Birkenau. In January, 1945 she worked in the so-called “Kanada-Kommando” where the transports’ personal property were sorted and sent to Germany. Auschwitz-Birkenau was evacuated, ahead of the advance of the Russian front, in January, 1945. The prisoners were sent on the “Deathmarch” which only a small number survived.

Cernyak-Spatz and her fellow workers from the Kanada Kommando were sent to KZ Ravensbrueck, the largest women’s concentration camp in the Reich. There they stayed until the end of April, 1945, at which time they were again deported, this time to the West to escape the Russian advance.


Liberation occurred in a small village in northern Germany, near Schwerin by a battalion of the eighty-second Airborne which had just occupied the little village. After the Liberation, she worked for the American Counter Intelligence Corps as an interpreter, and then for the British Military Government, also as an interpreter. She was reunited with her father in August, 1945 in Brussels. She married an American GI and came to America on July 4, 1946. She has three children and continues being active in the field of Holocaust studies which she has also presented in Germany in yearly lectures for over a decade.


This project was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Our Community Partner-
The Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice

Greenspon Logo 2.jpg
Greenspon Logo 1.jpg

History shows that courage in the face of darkness saves lives and shifts outcomes. Courage rooted in hope.

In every instance where people have had to overcome unspeakable acts of violence, discrimination, and persecution, hope has lead the way. Hope for peace, for love, and for equality.

The Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice exists to give voice to the voiceless, and form community partnerships to create positive change. They draw on history to guide their way as they advocate for those who need a spark of hope to lead them out of despair.


The Stan Greenspon Center has four branches of focus. Click each to learn more:

Social Justice & Advocacy

Holocaust & Human Rights Education

Jewish Life & Multicultural Connection

Jewish Studies


Meet The Creative Team


Contact Us:

(704) 559-9051


© 2014 by Three Bone Theatre, Inc.

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