Tags: gas chambers

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.

Gas [גזים]

A commandant of an extermination camp wishes to check the efficiency of the new gas chamber. He recruits two for the trial: a Jewish clown, star of silent films, and the gipsy servant of his own wife.

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.

Hannibal [חניבעל]

I Believe in the Coming of the Messiah [אני מאמין בביאת המשיח]

Set in a ghetto and in an extermination camp, the play asks, “Where is God?” Everyday life in the ghetto is portrayed from the women and children’s point of view. Conditions are bad, and the women seek help from the Judenrat, but there are no shelters. The kids, led by a child named Yossifun, play and build tents, solving the women’s problem of housing. A German officer offers to “help” the children, and takes them all from the ghetto. They travel by train to a camp where they are told to go to the showers, but they know these are the gas chambers. As Yossifun and his mother are heading for the showers, they hear singing about the coming of the Messiah. Yossifun’s mother manages to cheer him up, saying the Messiah is close, and they sing as they enter the gas chambers.

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.

Playing for Time

Based on the autobiography of Fania Fénelon, a Parisian singer who became part of the Auschwitz orchestra made up of female prisoners. The musicians play for the camp's Nazi leaders and for fellow prisoners leaving for work details and crematoria. Their position in the orchestra is a means to survival but also forces them to ask moral questions about how their artistry is being used.

Religion and Anarchy

Five playlets on the theme of anti-Semitism. The first, How to Train an Anti-Semite, a play about two benefit cheats who discuss Jewish conspiracy over the kitchen table. In Line Up, two men face imminent death if they stand in the wrong line marching toward the gates of a concentration camp: one line is headed for the gas chambers, the other is for forced labor. The final play, Gas, depicts three men's final agonizing moments in a Nazi gas chamber.

See Under: Love [עייך ערך אהבה]

Herr Neigel, a concentration camp commander, discovers an old Jewish man who keeps coming out alive from the gas chambers, unable to die. When he summons the man, Anshel Wasserman, to his office, he discovers that Wasserman was the author of Neigel's favorite book series as a child: The Children of the Heart. He makes a deal with Wasserman: Wasserman will tell him new adventures of The Children of the Heart, a chapter each night, and in return Neigel will try to kill Wasserman, who wants to die. But every time he is shot, Wasserman survives. Wasserman starts trying to reach into Neigel's heart, changing him, evoking his humanity.

The Grey Zone

A group of Hungarian Jews are recruited to be Sonderkommandos, prisoners who assist the Nazis in gassing other Jews with the promise that they will not be killed. They soon realize that they, too, will be gassed and begin to plot blowing up the crematoria with smuggled explosives. However, when they find a young girl still alive among the corpses, they struggle to decide what to do with her. Caught by the SS, the girl along with all but one Sonderkommando are killed. He is left to question his moral decisions.

The Timekeepers

The Timekeepers is the story of two prisoners, a heterosexual Jewish man, formerly a well-known and well-regarded horologist from Berlin, and a Christian gay man in the Sachenhausen concentration camp, 1939. It is about the need to survive, using whatever means possible, and the ability to build relationships—in what would be considered an impossible situation.