Tags: Warsaw

A Black Canopy, A Black Sky

Elie Wiesel’s first stage production, this one-act play was originally performed in 1968 to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. Set in an underground bunker in a Polish ghetto, the play explores the effects of overwhelming evil on the minds of innocent human beings. A married couple, Mendel and Sarah, are hiding in the bunker. A few months earlier, Mendel was taken prisoner and faced death. He survived the experience but believed that his wife, Sarah, had suffered the same fate and was killed. To cope with his grief, Mendel created an imaginary woman, Chava, to be his wife. Inside the bunker, Mendel is convinced that he is awaiting the return of Chava. A maggid (an itinerant Jewish preacher) offers to marry Mendel and Chava when she returns. Sarah must explain to the maggid her husband’s confusion. However, Sarah confesses that she too is questioning her own existence. Desperation is beginning to cloud her perception. Did she really die? Is Chava real? The maggid struggles to decipher the truth. All he can see is a black canopy under a black sky.

A Guide to the Traveler in Warsaw [מדריך למטייל בוארשה]

Marga and her son Yossef, come to Warsaw in order to lay claim on a building in the center of the city, a building that belonged to Marga's family before the war. Yossef and his mother are in constant battle about everything, personal and historical. They get on each other's nerves. But in Warsaw, Marga changes her mind about the city that was at the center of her hatred for so many years, while Yossef meets Bina, an Israeli woman in Warsaw to complete her father's life work: documenting the Jewish communities in Poland in the past 200 years. They have a complicated romance, and the son and his mother reach their final clash.

A House in the Ghetto

Staged at the Yiddish language theatre established by the internationally recognized actress Ida Kaminska in Warsaw following the Holocaust, the play portrays life in the city's Jewish ghetto.

A Miracle in the Warsaw Ghetto [Der nes in geto]

Recounting the bravery of one family and its neighbors, this fictional dramatization of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto was written in 1944, only one year after the actual event.

Children of the Night

Children of the Night is a drama about the children in the orphanage in the Warsaw Ghetto under Nazi occupation. It recounts the heroic acts of Dr. Janusz Korczak (1878–1942), who was the head of the ghetto’s orphanage from 1940 to 1942 and whose work, including the presentation of a Passover play which is depicted in this drama, was an attempt to bring normalcy and beauty, while reinforcing stories of Jewish heroism, into the lives of children who were facing imminent deportation and death.

Conversations with the Executioner

Based on a true story, Kazimiercz Moczarski, a Polish journalist who was a leader in the Polish Home Army, which resisted the Nazi occupation, is incarcerated as a collaborator by the postwar Communists. He is ironically imprisoned in the same cell as the SS General Jurgen Von Stroop, who was responsible for the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and a Nazi leader the journalist had tried to assassinate. Their interaction in that prison cell are at the core of the drama.

Dr. Korczak and His Children [Korczak und die Kinder]

Post-war German actors stage a play about Dr. Korczak, the head of the Warsaw Ghetto orphanage who accompanied his children to the gas chamber rather than stay behind in the ghetto. By having post-war actors deal with the issue, Sylvanus asks questions about the reverberations of the Holocaust in Germany. The play is clearly influenced by the play within a play structure that the Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello used in Six Characters in Search of an Author.

Dr. Yanush Korczak

This play tells the story of Dr. Yanush Korczak, advocate of children and director of the Warsaw Orphanage. The kind doctor sacrifices his chance at freedom to accompany his orphans to the concentration camp Treblinka, where he meets his death along with the children.

Embers [El Rescoldo]

Written in Israel in the author's native language of Spanish, El Rescoldo, which means the dying embers, dramatizes fictional events in the Warsaw Ghetto, the site of the most famous Jewish uprising during the Holocaust.

Ghetto à Varsovie

The play by Eydoux, the pen name of Roger Eisinger, an Alsatian Jew who has written plays dramatizing significant events in Jewish history, chronicles events within and outside the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Imagine This

An inspirational story following the lives of ordinary people trapped in the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland, 1942. Imagine This follows a group of actors in the Warsaw Ghetto as they stage a play to inspire hope within their community. However, with rumors of a Final Solution in the air, their play merges with the reality they are trying to escape, and a dramatic love story unfolds. Imagine This is a story about ordinary people—brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers—facing impossible choices and making heroic decisions.

Janusz Korczak [יאנוש קורצ’ק]

The play tells the story of the educator and Jewish doctor, Janusz Korczak, who ran an orphanage in the Warsaw ghetto. Korczak had a unique method of working with children, and even though he could have been saved, he went to the gas chambers with the orphans he protected.

Korczak and the Children

The story of Janusz Korczak, a Polish physician and head of the Jewish Orphanage in the Warsaw Ghetto who refused to stay behind to care for forced laborers while his children were sent to Treblinka. He and they perished together.

Korczak’s Children

The play chronicles the selfless acts of Janusz Korczak, the teacher and director of the Warsaw Ghetto. Korczak strove to give the children a sense of normalcy in the horrific ghetto and eventually chose to leave with them for the Treblinka death camp. Another character in Brady's drama is Emmanuel Ringelblum whose writings, and those of others in a group he led, survived the Holocaust and provide insight into life in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Life in a Jar

A play written by students from a rural Kansas school as a result of a research project for National History Day. Two ninth graders, Megan Stewart and Elizabeth Cambers, and an eleventh grader, Sabrina Coons researched the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker in the Warsaw Ghetto who, between 1939 and 1942, helped rescue children from the ghetto by smuggling them past Nazi guards. Sendler then adopted the children into Polish homes or orphanages by giving them false identity papers. She and her network made lists of the children’s real names and put the lists in jars, which were then buried in a Warsaw garden under an apple tree so that the names could one day be used to help the children find their true identity and reconnect with their families after the war. The play has been performed over 300 times in the U.S. and Europe, and the students made several visits to Poland to meet Irena before she passed away in 2008.

Me Forever and Dr. Korczak’s Example

This play is set in the final, numbered days of an orphanage in the Warsaw ghetto in 1942. Based on real events, this is a “Brechtian” retelling of the central characters who are trapped both by the inexorable forces of Nazi oppression and by our foreknowledge of the fate that awaits them. The play’s “alienation” device of depicting its characters through the use of dolls, further enhances our painful feeling of powerlessness.

Once Upon a Time [Il était une fois]

Once Upon A Time represents the essence of Jewish despair and hope, shown through a desperate rebellion against tyranny. In a ghetto on the brink of destruction, a Nazi commander randomly picks three Jews out of a crowd, giving one of them the inhuman responsibility of choosing which of the other two to kill. Daniel, a young, innocent man, is now faced with the incredible task of sealing the fate of one of his fellow Jews. Will he be prepared to sacrifice one of his brothers for the good of the community, or will he choose to rebel against his oppressors which would destroy the ghetto itself? Who will survive, then, to tell the tale?

Raising the Flag of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising [נס המרד בגיטו ורשה]

A play about the Resistance and the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. The Resistance obtains weapons and supplies and plans attacks. One Jew manages to infiltrate the Nazi ranks by posing as a Nazi commander. In the end he shoots and kills the Ghetto commander.

The Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto

Written for the American Jewish Committee for a 1943 Yom Kippur radio program and based on materials from the Committee's files, the radio drama chronicles the horrors of ghetto life from its beginnings until its liquidation and the Jewish revolt. The experiences are recounted by the fictional ghetto inhabitant and play's narrator Isaac Davidson, whose family is imprisoned in the ghetto. The radio drama opens and closes with a cantor chanting the haunting "El Mole Rachamim," a traditional prayer for the dead.

The Final Bill [Der Kheshbn]

A Soviet style propagandistic drama, written in Yiddish, depicting the revolt in the Warsaw Ghetto as a melodramatic battle between heroic supporters of Communism—both Jewish and Gentile— versus the supporters of Jewish nationalism.

The Wall

Based on John Hersey's 1950 novel The Wall, the play presents daily life in the Warsaw Ghetto from the Nazi occupation of Poland in September 1939 until its liquidation in May 1941 and depicts the diversity of responses to ghetto life by the Jewish victims.

The Wardrobe

The play explores the relationship between Elena, a young Jewish fugitive who escaped the Warsaw ghetto, and Magda, a deeply religious Catholic woman. Their relationship begins when Elena’s lover, a Polish policeman, arranges for Elena to hide in Magda’s apartment. As the situation around them worsens, the relationship between the two women deepens. In a final act of sacrifice, Magda offers Elena her baby, which she hopes will save Elena’s life.

To Paint the Earth

To Paint the Earth tells the story of the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto who struggled to keep a sense of normalcy amidst increasingly abnormal conditions. In the end, their armed resistance, made up of a close-knit group of street fighters, held off the German Army for over a month. Though the Uprising was crushed, it sent a message that their lives would not be given lightly. For many of them, it was the fulfillment of their last hope, that they would die fighting, with dignity, rather than without a sound, and that the world would know what kind of people perished in the Warsaw Ghetto.

To Steal a March on God

A play based on the author's 1976 interviews with Marek Edelman, the last living survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising as well as on his 1945 memoir. The drama is structured in five sections, the opening and closing are set at a ceremony celebrating the anniversary of the famous ghetto revolt. The three other sections are based on the interviews with the survivor, now a doctor, and use flashbacks to recount the actions of the twenty-four-year-old resistance fighter.

Under the Apple Tree

Over 2,500 Jewish children were rescued from the Warsaw Ghetto by Polish nurse and social worker, Irena Sendler. At great personal risk, she smuggled children out of the ghetto providing them with false identity papers and keeping their true identities safe in the hopes of reuniting them with their families when the war ended. Their names were kept in glass jars and buried under the apple tree of a house in Warsaw.

Warsaw

Based on the true story of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in which Jewish fighters gave their lives to resist deportation to Nazi concentration camps. It was the first and single largest revolt by Jews during the Holocaust and inspired many other uprisings throughout the ghettos and concentration camps of occupied Europe. The musical tells the story of Roman who is trapped in the ghetto and separated from his gentile fiancée, Ana. The couple struggle to reunite, and Roman leads a group of resistance fighters into a battle to vindicate their community.

Who Was This Man

A depiction of the final heroic and selfless acts of Janusz Korczak, the director of the Warsaw Ghetto orphanage, as he prepares the children for their and his final journey to the Treblinka death camp.

Wild Beasts Among You

This is the story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, keepers of the Warsaw Zoo. The play unfolds in the living room of the Zabinski villa on the zoo grounds, from where we witness the invasion and destruction of the zoo as well as the resolve of the Zabinskis to use their home and the remaining animal cages to shelter Jews throughout most of the war. More than 30 characters—the Zabinski family, friends, sheltered Jews, Nazi officers and more—provide the qualities of determination, commitment, humor, compassion, cruelty and forgiveness that makes the Zabinski’s story so unforgettable.
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