Tags: suicide

Auf Wiedersehen

In this pre-World War II domestic melodrama, the Jewish mother by adoption of a Gentile friend's children is forced to kill herself in order to spare them from the anti-Semitic attacks and policies of the Third Reich.


On June 29-30, 1934 (the Night of the Long Knives), Max and his lover Rudy begin a nightmare odyssey through Nazi Germany, which on that night began a campaign to exterminate gay men. Max refuses to abandon Rudy. After they’re caught, while in transport to Dachau, Rudy is killed and Max horrifyingly broken. In Dachau, consumed by self-loathing, he begins a journey towards redemption, made possible by the love of another inmate, Horst. Max learns to love in return and, in summer 1936, thereby to accept himself and to come out as gay, an identity which he has denied. Inevitably doomed, both men refuse to submit to the Nazis and die defiantly.

Between Death and Life

The play depicts the moral dilemmas facing doctors in ghetto hospitals during the Holocaust. Jewish doctors in the hospital in the Ukrainian ghetto of Lwow (1941–43)—named by the Germans, Lemberg—plot their own death in a historic parallel to the heroic suicides by persecuted but resistant Jews in Roman times, and as a subterfuge to allow their patients to avoid deportation to a concentration camp and their sure deaths.

H. I. D. (Hess Is Dead)

Investigates the contradictions surrounding the apparent suicide of Hitler’s one-time deputy by stretching, through technological wizardry, our understanding of history and belief in objective reality.


Bernhard, in three scenes, deals with the reverberations of a professor committing suicide by jumping from his apartment in Heldenplatz: the same square into which, 50 years earlier, Nazis marched to mark their takeover of Austria. Bernhard implies that Vienna is still haunted by its past. The professor’s housekeeper and brothers describe the continuing anti-Semitism in Vienna. In the final scene, at a family dinner the professor’s wife hears “Sieg Heil” coming from outside her window in the square.


Hess is a two-hour, one-person show, written and acted by Burrell. The piece focuses on Rudolph Hess (1894-1987), Adolf Hitler’s chief deputy until 1941 when he flew to Scotland to try and negotiate peace with England and was arrested; and who later was convicted at Nuremberg for crimes against humanity and served a life sentence, until his suicide. In Burrell’s representation Hess is vain, comical, malevolent, and pathetic as he describes his time as Hitler’s chief deputy and is also unrepentant as he argues that western history (including actions by the United States) reflect empathy with the ideals of the Third Reich.

Hitler Alone

Hitler’s last thought before his suicide at 15:30 on April 30, 1945, delivered in a one-man show.

I Shall Not Die, But Live [לא אמות כי אחיה]

Abraham is living in the Soviet Union. He lost one son in WWI and a second son in the current world war. When the Nazis invade, a professor who works with Abraham tells him he is also Jewish. He plans to commit suicide in order to escape the Nazi's persecution. Abraham argues with him, asking him what about his daughter and grandchildren: Should they commit suicide as well? The professor thinks Abraham is safe because he managed to become one of the nation through the sacrifice of his children. They argue.

Jim the Lionhearted [Jim le téméraire]

Jim is a Jew who is haunted and obsessed by the Holocaust. Jim locks himself away in his bedroom and has hallucinations presented as dream-like scenes. Jim envisions Hitler, who becomes intrigued by the frightened Jew, as well as many of Hitler’s notorious colleagues. Ironically, Jim becomes a trusted confidant of the Führer. Based on his awareness of historic events, Jim warns Hitler about those who will plot against him. Eventually, only Jim and Hitler remain and battle to prevent each other’s suicide.

Sophie’s Choice

Based on the novel by William Styron, the opera tells the story of Sophie Zawistowski, a beautiful Polish immigrant now living in the U.S., who, in Auschwitz, was forced to choose between her son and her daughter’s survival. But this is not the only choice she has to make. Having survived the camp, she now has two lovers: Stingo and Nathan. Stingo wants a family with her. Nathan, her schizophrenic boyfriend, asks her to marry him. Sophie is forced once again to decide, but memories of her past choices haunt her, and she takes her final option, suicide.

The Attic Room

A dream play about Adam Czerniaków, a real historical figure and chair of the Jewish Council in the Warsaw ghetto from 1939 through 1942, who was called on to designate Jewish children for deportation from the ghetto, which he knew meant their deaths. He commits suicide with the fictional character Rachael Wyze, a present day Israeli journalist, who, while serving in the army, witnesses the needless murder of a Palestinian girl by an Israeli sergeant. When called on to testify, she has to choose between the truth, which means injuring Israel, or lying, which she believes would injure Judaism. In her bitter confrontation with Adam over what she terms his failed leadership during the time of the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, she admits she also committed suicide when she could not decide to decide.

The Black Swan [Der schwarze Schwan]

The son of an infamous concentration camp drama unsuccessfully attempts to reveal his father’s horrific past by staging a “play within a play” much in the same way Hamlet in Shakespeare’s drama attempts to unmask his stepfather Claudius as his father’s killer. The son’s failure leads to his suicide.

The Outsider

Also translated as The Man Oustide, dramatizes the despair of the disillusioned World War II German veteran from the Eastern front, Beckmann, who discovers upon his return home he has lost his wife and his home. He is rejected everywhere he turns and he seems to commits suicide in the Elbe River.