Browse the Plays
- Experience Chronicled
- Allegoric or Metaphoric Representations
- Concentration and Extermination Camps
- Deniers and Denial
- Germany, Hitler and the Growth of Nazism
- European Jewry Before the Holocaust
- The Ghettos
- Righteous Gentiles
- Nazi War Crimes and Judgement
- Other Victims of Nazi Persecution
- Perpetrators, Bystanders and Collaborators
- Survivors and Subsequent Generations
- Theater During Holocaust
- Women and the Holocaust
- Experience Chronicled
The second in Sobol’s Vilna trilogy. An old Jewish women named Nadia remembers the events of the play. Adam Rolnik (based on the real head of the Resistance, Yitzhak Wittenberg) is the head of the Resistance in Vilna ghetto. The Nazis demand his extradition or they will finish the entire ghetto. Jacob Gens, chief of the Jewish police, is forced to make the decision, with the unpredictable SS commander Kittel, breathing down his neck.
Martin Engel is an ex-SS officer who has been tried, convicted, and then freed after serving his term for the massacre of over 200 Jews in a small French village. He returns to the village, where the play is set, hoping to live his life out in peace. Engel reveals that he served out of duty not out of a commitment to Nazism and that while he did not give the orders for the massacre, he recognizes his guilt. At the climax of the play, Engel does not resist those villagers who have come to murder him.
A Polish Jew, who is a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, is visited by his young daughter who has emigrated from Poland and is in love with a black man. After her father murders the man, the daughter begins a relationship with a Frenchman. The play also contains a subplot about a Polish woman and her Latvian husband, who as an SS officer in a concentration camp during the war, saved her and her mother’s life. However, the wife does not really love her husband and is, instead, emotionally involved with a Polish immigrant.
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.
Eve of Retirement [Von dem Ruhestand]
The continuing belief in Nazi ideals in current day Germany is represented through a family’s continuing celebration of the birthday of Heinrich Himmler (1900–1945), the leader of the SS. Bernhard also suggests that major German political and social figures in present day society remain strong believers in Nazi values.
The central character is David Goldberg who is imprisoned in West Berlin in 1961, waiting to be tried for the murder of Erich Mauler, a former SS Officer and a prominent public figure in postwar Germany. While the play uses ironic comedy, the audience eventually learns, through flashbacks, of Goldberg's personal motives: his wife is a survivor who suffered intense brutality at the hands of the former Nazi and his colleagues.
Kalavrita des mille Antigone
Delbo’s work is a dramatic prose poem that chronicles the attempts of women to bury 1300 dead men, executed by German soldiers in response to an attack by Greek partisans. The work is a recounting to a contemporary visitor coming to visit a monument to that event in 1943.
Night and Fog
A controversial play, whose initial production was, according to the playwright, threatened by neo-Nazis and the Jewish Defense League for its representation of a former SS officer hiding his past while living in the U.S. and the mysterious individual who forces him to face up to his role in the Holocaust.
A former Nazi war criminal has become a Catholic priest helping troubled teenagers give up their violence and racism in New York City's Lower East Side. He is found by an impassioned hunter of former Nazis in hiding. The priest agrees to give himself up but only after he shows his hunter what he is now trying to do in order to repent for his past.
The Court Jesters [ליצני החצר]
Four Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz are chosen by the camp commandant to be his personal clowns. An astrologer, a midget, a juggler and a court judge are the four "lucky" clowns. During the day they work like all the other prisoners, and at night they perform for the SS officers for small pieces of bread. They all survive, and the play follows them later in life in Jerusalem and Argentina, where one of them is taking revenge.
The Day of Wrath
The Day of Wrath is structured like a mystery play and takes place in a monastery in an occupied Eastern European country during World War II. An SS major, participating in the Nazi's genocide of European Jews, had been a seminarian in Rome where he was an acquaintance of the prior of the monastery. The SS officer regularly visits the religious leader to debate the religion he now completely rejects. When the Nazi suspects that a Jew is being hidden by the monks, he believes it is his duty to hunt him down. But in melodramatic fashion, the SS officer is now unable to kill the hidden Jew.
The Investigation [Die Ermittlung]
Weiss uses transcripts from the Frankfurt trials of Auschwitz SS guards to create his docudrama. However, the play is not an actual documentary and some of his decisions in shaping the material have been highly controversial. Weiss structures the testimony into verse, never gives the survivors testifying names just numbers (as they were given in the camp), and never mentions Jews. Weiss uses the play to argue that the Holocaust occurred because of capitalism and suggests that the oppressed could as easily become oppressors.
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.
The Other Man
The play, influenced by the manhunt of former Nazis in the 1960s, depicts the capture of an SS man hiding in Argentina by Israeli secret agents.
A work that consists of five self-contained scenes that are set in Nazi Germany. The scenes deal with differing types of individuals during this era: resisters, fanatical Nazis, working class people, members of the SS and members of the Wehrmacht.
What Does Peace Mean?
A play for secondary school audiences, What Does Peace Mean? Takes place in a home just outside a Nazi concentration in Germany in the last year of World War II. Four camp prisoners are taken to the home; they are unsure of why they are there with one of the young females believing that they are to be used for the pleasure of the SS. However, the camp is liberated by British soldiers. When the camp commandant’s son comes to the house seeking safety from the soldiers liberating the camp, he is tried as a war criminal by the freed children. However, when the son is threatened by the British, the young camp prisoners protect him.
Recounts the story of Simon Wiesenthal, who escaped death at the hands of Hitler's SS but lost 89 of his own family members during the Holocaust. Realizing "there is no freedom without justice," he dedicated his life to tracking down over 1,100 war criminals, and fighting anti-Semitism and prejudice against all people. The play highlights Simon Wiesenthal's humor, wisdom and wit during his long and purposeful life.