Tags: death

Date of Death

A Holocaust survivor hands his own obituary to an embittered newspaper obit writer.

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.

Jacob Comes Home

In this one-act drama, the German Jewish family of Jacob awaits his return from a Nazi internment center. They discuss mundane issues such as how he will look and what they will discuss with him. Instead, a stranger arrives—a Nazi—who brings Jacob's ashes to his family.

King Matt in the Ghetto [המלך מתיא בגטו]

A group of children in a ghetto is staging King Matt the First, a famous book by Janusz Korczak, just before they are sent to their deaths.


Part of Proceed to Checkout: Ten Death Affirming Plays, Sketches and Monolgues, this 10 minute play asks the question: Could there be something worse than surviving the Holocaust? Two elderly Russian survivors struggle to come to terms with the death of their only son.

The Book Thief

Adapted by Heidi Stillman from Markus Zusak’s book, the story is narrated by a Death figure who is haunted by humans, and who tries alongside the audience to understand why people do the terrible and generous things they do. Liesel Meminger comes to live with adoptive parents in Nazi Germany. Over the course of the Second World War, she blooms from a tight-lipped, nightmare-ridden girl to a poised young woman who commits several acts of book thievery as she learns to read, keep important secrets, and heil Hitler whether she wants to or not.

The Child Dreams [הילד חולם]

A play in four parts. The life of a sleeping boy is disrupted when his home is invaded and his father is brutally murdered. He and his mother become fleeing refugees. In the final scene of the drama, the boy arrives in the land of dead children. While the play is not specifically set during the Holocaust, its imagery is clearly connected to its horrors.

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 Emperor of Atlantis

The Emperor of Atlantis, ruler over much of the world, proclaims universal war and declares that his old ally Death will lead the campaign. Death, offended by the Emperor’s presumption, breaks his sabre; henceforth men will not die. Confusion results: a soldier and a girl-soldier from opposite sides sing a love duet instead of fighting; the sick and suffering find no release. Death offers to return the men on one condition—that the Emperor be the first to die.

The Mitzvah

The Mitzvah is a one-person, one-act play—part of The Mitzvah Project, which includes a lecture and audience discussion. Half-Jew, Christophe Rosenburg, a decorated officer, and hardened killer, is serving in Hitler's army. He is dying and in a delirium. As his life is slipping away, he fantasizes about killing The Führer in a lethal replay of a moment a few years before when he stood with hundreds of soldiers and officers in a square in Berlin delivering an oath of allegiance to Hitler. The Chorus interjects and replies to Christoph's dream in an extended sardonic riff about "the hand"—that Christoph's fantasy is a ridiculous fiction; that Christoph's hand, rather than being the instrument that delivered the world from the nightmare of Hitler, is the Nazi hand that murdered uncounted millions of innocent lives. The scene shifts and the character changes from the Chorus to Schmuel Berkowicz, a poor Jew from Bialystok who finds himself on the train platform in Auschwitz where he is selected to work in the "Krankenbau"—the infirmary—which, as Schmuel learns, "is more like a mortuary." He recounts how he first meets a large, blonde-haired prisoner who, but a few months earlier, was a decorated war hero. It is Christoph Rosenberg, who has been severely beaten and is now, like Schmuel, a prisoner. We learn that Christoph has been brought to Auschwitz because he turned on the Germans, in a field outside of Bialystok, where he shot and killed a SS Captain, to stop the slaughter of local Jews. The Chorus fills in the background about Christoph, i.e., that he is a half-Jew who was able to stay in the German army only by obtaining a special exemption personally from Hitler. But, upon seeing the brutalization of a young woman and her baby by the SS, Christoph realizes that the blood flowing in the trench is the same blood that's flowing in his veins. To put an end to her suffering at the hands of the SS, Christoph first kills the young Jewish mother, and then turns the gun on the SS Captain. At the end of the play, in the same way that Christoph ended the life of the young mother, Schmuel puts an end to Christoph's suffering by suffocating him "with a rag—the rag he used to cleanse—in the infirmary that is more like a mortuary." At the end of the play, Schmuel says Kaddish over the body of Christoph draped Pieta-like on his lap.