Page 51 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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Europe, bu t the theme is distinctly Israeli: “Why d idn ’t the
victim resist?” As with the German playwright Sylvanus, Da-
gan’s major concern is the audience. He aims to show his
viewers that, under similar conditions, they would have be-
haved the same way. For Sylvanus in
Dr. Korczak and the
the theme was collaboration. For Dagan it is
resistance. He tries to prove to the audience tha t Jewish resist-
ance within the Nazi system was almost impossible. To convey
the message to the audience he turns a friendly gathering be-
tween the playwright and his friends in a hotel suite in Central
Europe in 1970 into a nightmarish experience. W ithin minutes
the guests comply with their oppressors and do not offer any
resistance, in a cleverly staged play within a play.
Leah Goldberg’s
Lady of the Castle12
also takes place in
Europe. Michael Zand, a librarian from the land of Israel,
and Dr. Dora Ringel, a social worker for the Youth Aliyah,
are in Europe in 1947 on separate missions. Zand hopes to
trace rare Jewish manuscripts scattered by the Germans, while
Dora is in search of Jewish children in monasteries, nunneries
and other hiding places. They are forced by a raging storm to
spend the night in the manor where Zand had been looking
for manuscripts. T he watchman reluctantly allows them to
spend the night in the manor. During the evening an ideological
discussion develops among the three. Each represents a different
theological trend of the forties. During the course of the con-
versation, they learn that the watchman is a Count, the former
owner of the manor, who, after the Communist takeover, be-
came a watchman. During World War II, the castle served as
a Gestapo headquarters and the Count was one of the most
prominent members of the Resistance.
When Zand is left alone in the library he touches an old
cuckoo clock. T he clock strikes ten. A secret door open in the
wall and a beautiful, bewildered young girl appears. Zand
learns that her name is Lena and that she was saved by the
Count during World War II. She lives in constant fear in her
11 Erwin Sylvanus,
Dr. Korczak and the Children,
trans. by George E.
Wellwarth, in
Postwar German Theatre.
New York, E. P. Dutton,
1967, pp. 118-157.
12 Leah Goldberg,
Lady of the Castle
, trans. by T. Carmi. Tel Aviv,
Institute for the Translation of Modern Hebrew Literature, 1974.