Tags: guilt

Adam Son of a Dog [אדם בן כלב]

An adaptation by Alexander Chervinsky: Adam Stein survived the Holocaust by playing a circus dog for the Nazi commander of a camp. He is now in a mental hospital in Israel, reliving his experiences. He was ordered not just to entertain the Nazi officers, but also the Jewish victims on their way to the gas chambers. He is ravaged by guilt for surviving, while his family died.

Before She Is Even Born

The play opens in the back of a Bronx tenement in 1945, as Raisal, a Jewish immigrant mother who is pregnant hangs her laundry and is confronted by her guilt-ridden memories. Through flashbacks, she remembers her childhood in prewar Poland, and then taking her diffident sister's passport, and immigrating to the United States. After she leaves, Raisal's mother, sister and her sister's daughter perish in the Holocaust. Raisal confronts questions regarding her survival and identity.

East of Berlin

Standing outside his father’s study in Paraguay, Rudi is smoking cigarettes, trying to work up the courage to go in. It has been seven years since he left his family and their history behind him. As a teenager, Rudi discovered that his father was a doctor at Auschwitz. Trying to reconcile his inherited guilt, Rudi lashes out against his father and his friends, and eventually flees to Germany. While there, he follows in his father’s footsteps by studying medicine and falls in love with Sarah, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. Questioning redemption, love, guilt, and the sins of the father, East of Berlin is a tour de force that follows Rudi’s emotional upheaval as he comes to terms with a frightening past that was never his own.

Golgotha [גולגולתא]

"Golgotha," the name of the site of Jesus' crucifixion, has become a Ladino word for suffering. Albert Salvado, a Ladino-speaking Jew and Holocaust survivor from Thessaloniki, Greece, is asked to light a beacon on Holocaust Memorial Day at Yad Vashem. The invitation stirs up his memories and guilt—he not only questions his right to light the torch, but also his identity as a Sephardic Jew. During the Holocaust, he worked in the crematorium at Auschwitz. His job was to walk the victims into the gas chambers, take out the bodies, and move them to the ovens. During that time his only wish was to see his wife just once more. And indeed, he saw her again when she came to the gas chambers; he had to put her inside and later burn her body. He also lost his two daughters in the camp. His own survival is, he feels, more a punishment than a blessing—searing guilt is the price he must pay for failing his family.

Mandate Memories

A stirring portrait of Israel’s tumultuous founding caused by the horrors of the Second World War, and revealed when Gustav Frolich, an eighty-year-old Israeli survivor of the death camps visits Jane Stirling, 62, in a small English town. Their mysterious connection forged during the post British Mandate for Palestine transition dramatically reveals a conflict and a secret that ties these two strangers closely together. This compelling and controversial story deals with memories of the struggles the Jewish people have endured, and atonement and the inability of the guilty to forgive themselves.

The Condemned of Altona

A wealthy post-war German industrialist is near death and calls his family together. The family is wracked with guilt, reflecting the guilt of Nazi Germany, including a son who has locked himself away since returning from the front. The son reveals that during the war he killed two prisoners.

The Infant Rat [L’Enfant-rat]

L’Enfant Rat moves back and forth in chronology as it focuses on six survivors, identified only by numbers, of the same concentration camp work detail. The play both details the continuing relationship between these survivors, their past experiences and the continued impact of the camp experiences on them.

Viehjud Levi

The issue of continuing guilt following the war in Germany is examined in this play, which is structured almost as a mystery. Hirsch Levi, a successful German-Jewish businessman who deals in livestock, is murdered in the early years of the Nazi regime. No one has ever been punished for his murder nor has anyone been identified as the killer in a town where the population wishes not to be reminded of this early horrific act of anti-Semitism.

Warmth

Sweet, innocent, well-meaning Gemma has a happy and wholesome life as a Catholic kindergarten schoolteacher, a hilarious sidekick in her cousin and roommate Jake, plenty of Jewish moms trying to set her up with their sons, and a heart of gold… even though it gets her into trouble sometimes. When she finds herself volunteering with a foundation that helps (and makes scarves for) rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, Gemma wants to do more than good deeds from overseas and arranges for Magdelone, an 88-year-old Polish woman, to stay with her for two weeks. As Gemma grows close to Magdelone and her long-lost Jewish-American grandson, Victor, she becomes obsessed with the atrocities of the past and struggles with an odd form of Christian guilt, intent on healing all the world’s problems.
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