Page 47 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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3 9
ELIACH / THE HOLOCAUST IN HEBREW DRAMA
Charlotte Delbo in
T ill Human Voices Wake Us,s
also sim-
ilarly does not spare the public the concentration camp universe
with its sights, sounds and language. It is all enacted on stage.
The all-female cast emphasizes to the onlookers that the least
they can do is to endure and comprehend the action on stage
so that they may prevent it from becoming a reality again.
As a playwright Delbo assumes the position of an eyewitness,
a survivor who was spared so that she may tell the unbeliev-
able stories of her survival which survivors themselves do not
comprehend.
Louis Novas Terrara (Newlander) in his
Yom Kippur,
carries his depiction of the Holocaust to an extreme in the at-
tempt to re-create a replica of the authentic concentration camp
universe. The strange, authentic reality of the “other planet"
make events in the play probable and possible. Peter Weiss'
The Investigation
,4 is a reproduction of the Auschwitz trials
held in Frankfurt, Germany, during 1964-1965. The trials are
presented in the form of an oratorio with 11 cantos. Weiss
documents the negative achievements of all civilization. Bar-
baric, lawless acts unfold on an austere stage with no attempt
to reconstruct a court room. There is no personal drama in the
play, and all questions and answers are delivered in a mono-
tone. Guilt is an essential element in the play; it is diffused
through the Nazi ranks and even taints the victims. The West-
era world is guilty, tormentor and victim alike.
Rolf Hochhuth in the
Deputy,5
locates the guilt with the in-
dividual. He especially singles out Pope Pious XII, Christ’s
deputy on earth, for censure. Hochhuth stigmatizes the Pope for
failing to protest, and for remaining silent while six million
Jews were murdered. The Pope is blamed as an individual
who failed to use his powerful position. The blame falls upon
a person rather than an institution. Father Riccardo Fontana
and Kurt Gerstein also acted as individuals. They were guided
3 Charlotte Delbo,
Till Human Voices Wake Us,
trans. from the French
by Cynthia Haft. The manuscript was given to me by the translator. The
French version of the play was produced in Paris in 1974.
4 Peter Weiss,
The Investigation.
English version by Jon Swan and Ulo
Grossbard, N.Y., Atheneum, 1966.
5 Rolf Hochhuth,
The Deputy,
trans. by Richard and Clara Winston.
New York, Grove Press, 1964.