Tags: Theresienstadt

Butterflies No Longer Live Here

Addressing the hate, indifference and prejudice of the Nazi regime, the production highlights the inhumanity and the suffering that took place within the Theresienstadt ghetto, where more than 155,000 Jews were incarcerated between 1941 and 1945. Of that figure, 35,440 perished inside the ghetto, and 88,000 were deported and murdered in extermination camps.

Camp Comedy

Camp Comedy focuses on the film director and actor Kurt Gerron, who, prior to the war appeared in Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera and with Marlene Dietrich in the classic film Blue Angel and who, in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, was forced by the Nazis to create a propaganda film, The Führer Gives a City to the Jews, extolling the virtues of the model camp. The play, which is highly theatrical and employs a narrator, uses actual cabaret material written and performed in Theresienstadt. Camp Comedy poses ethical and moral questions about survival and collaboration.

Can You Hear Them Crying?

A sequel to Children of the Holocaust, this one-act is a tribute to the thousands of children that did not survive their imprisonment at the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Of the 15,000 children who were sent to the camp, only 100 survived. The narrative features translations of actual stories and poems written by the lost children.

Dreams of Beating Time

Dreams of Beating Time is set between 1917 and 1944 in Theresienstadt (Terezín, the model camp where theatre artists and musicians were allowed to produce artistic works but eventually transported to Auschwitz), Czechoslovakia, southern Germany, Mannheim, Berlin, New York and London. The scenes are structured like dreams and recollections loosely based on actual characters and events. Among the characters in the play are Kurt Singer, the former head of the Judischer Kulturbund in the Third Reich, an organization that had been allowed to produce theatre for Jewish audiences under Nazi supervision; Kurt Gerron, a Jewish director the Nazis wanted to use to make a propaganda film in Theresienstadt; Raphael Schachter, a conductor interned in Theresienstadt, and Wilhelm Fürtwängler, the controversial conductor who did not leave Nazi Germany.

I Never Saw Another Butterfly

A one-act play that is based on the poetry written by Jewish children from Prague imprisoned in the model concentration camp Theresienstadt. The play chronicles the experiences of Raja, a girl in Thersienstadt, her family, a teacher, who encourages children's creativity, a young male friend, with whom Raja creates an underground newspaper, and a Terezín rabbi.

I Never Saw Another Butterfly

This devised play takes a retrospective look at the journey to the genocide through the eyes of the children of Theresienstadt. From the humiliations on the streets of German cities, the synagogue burnings and the Einsatzgruppen to the wide and varied forms of resistance that people found and took in response to the devastating events of this period. Jewish festivals and cultural values are embedded in the children’s story, which ends on their arrival at Auschwitz in 1944.

The Insult

The author humorously portrays one of the lesser-known institutions in the ghetto: its court system. The system included a criminal court that mostly addressed cases of theft, a labor court that resolved issues of work discipline, and a civil court that dealt with private conflicts among ghetto residents. Survivor Ruth Bondy wrote of the civil court: "Most of the plaintiffs were older people, mainly from Germany, who were more sensitive about their dignity [. . .]. But perhaps what these people sought most of all was the reassurance that there was still justice, and a judge, in the world." In the sketch the conflict is resolved in a humorous way that not only disarms the plaintiff and charms the judge but entertains the courtroom—as well as the Terezín/Theresienstadt audience.

The Last Cyclist

Dress rehearsal in Terezín of a bitterly funny absurdist allegory mocking Nazism and the evils of prejudice: Cyclists (Jews) are the victims of lunatics (Nazis) who escape their asylum to persecute bike riders. Many ridiculous misadventures later, the schlemiel of a hero defeats the lunatics by accidentally sending them to the moon on the rocket ship they had built to be rid of him, the last remaining cyclist. He tells the audience, “Go home! You are free!” but his girlfriend objects: “Only here on the stage is there a happy ending. Out there, where you are, the rule of madness continues.”

The Model Ghetto

A dramatic representation of the model ghetto/camp of Terezín/Theresienstadt.

Way to Heaven

About the sham Jewish settlement at Theresienstadt, or Terezín, in what is now the Czech Republic, set up by the Nazis to persuade observers that Jews were held in humane conditions. A make-believe utopia, Theresienstadt (the German name) was an effective propaganda tool. In reality, it was a concentration camp, and a way station leading to Auschwitz and other death camps.
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