The Spirit of Life

Author(s): &

Drawing on material from Yaffa Eliach's book, Hasidic Tales of The Holocaust, the play uses some of these moving stories to relate the experiences of individuals, many of them young people, during the Shoah. The play examines some of the mechanisms of the Final Solution and tell of the hatred and prejudice that fueled this unthinkable event. Among the stories told in the play is that of a young woman, Anna, who was dying of typhus. After crawling to the top of a hill, her father comes to her and tells her to hold out for a couple more days for then the camp will be liberated. After the camp's liberation, Anna discovers her father had been dead for several months, and that the hill she had climbed was a mass grave where he was buried. There are also the stories of Moshe, a young boy, who saves himself from freezing to death by dancing like an Hasid during a roll call, and that of Margaret who experiences an act of unexpected and almost unbelievable kindness from a German soldier.
Format: Short play/drama
Cast Size: 3M/6F
Running time: 40 minutes
Character breakdown

6 Attestors—they serve as the narrators of the play and provide historical background information.
Man on transport
Woman on transport
Young girl
Rabbi of Bluzhov
Gestapo agent
Anna’s father
3 prisoners in Auschwitz
Young woman 1 and 2
SS officer
Margaret Schwartz
Man in fur coat
Rabbi of Bobov
Rabbi of Klausenberg
Dancers 1, 2 and 3
Camp guard


Original or Prominent Production: Originally produced by the Suitcase Theatre of Circle In The Square at the Kaufman Theatre on Theatre Row in New York City.
Original Source Material: Adapted by David F. Eliet from Yaffa Eliach’s book, Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust.
Nationality of Author:
Original Language: English

Samuel French

Production Rights Holder:

Samuel French