This musical - maybe the word "tragical" would be better - was developed as a teamwork for the
German Protestant Day of Church in Leipzig by the group "fünf brote und zwei fische" in the years
1995-1997. The idea of this story is based on the novel "Shaddow of the wall" by Christa Laird.
The story is about Janusz Korczak´s last three years and life in a Jewish nuseryhome in the ghetto of
Warsaw. Surrounded by a wall and guarded by German soldiers, 450.000 Jews lived in the ghetto of
The food rations for the Jews were:
1 kg bread for one week,
250g sugar and 50g fat for one month.
The people tried to swap their poperty for food in order to survive. Other stole everything they could
The hygienic and sanitary conditions in the ghetto were very bad. The water supply was insufficient
and in winter time there was no fuel. There were epidemics and the people on the street died of
hunger, typhus and other diseases.
The 13-year-old Mischa and his younger sisters Rachel and Elena live in the nuseryhome Dom
Sierot. After their fatherīs death itīs Mischa who earns their living by smuggling - which is very
dangerous job in the ghetto. Mischaīs only help is the paediatrician Janusz Korczak, who often turns
the impossible into reality. But even Korczak canīt prevent the Nazis from clearing the ghetto.
Korczak with children
On the 20th of January 1942 the Nazis decided to liquidate the ghetto completely, this was part of
the final solution of the Jewish problemģ. Pretending to resettle the people, the Nazis brought them
to the extermination camps Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek. Every day thousands
were brought to those camps. This was not peaceful at all, of course. There were almost daily
executions on the street. As a secret word the people whispered the Jewish expression pessachģ to
warn the others against the Nazis. The survivors of the Jewish population tried to start a rebellion but
it was not sucessful.
The musical is divided into seven pictures:
The first picture beginns with a description of the situation during a raid of the
occupying power, the last one ends with the transportation of the children into the concentration
camp of Treblinka. The fog in the last scene reminds the viewer of the deadly gas, and the starry sky
reminds us of the childrenīs house in the memorial place Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
1. Life in the ghetto,
2. How to survive,
3. In the
nurseryhome of Dr. Korczak,
4. Elenaīs escape,
5. Is there hope?,
6. Praying or working?,
7. On the
way to Treblinka.
The main character, Mischa Edelman, his sister Rachel, their mother and the rebel Leon are
fictitious, but they contain parts of real persons.
The doctor and the nurse Stefa really existed.
If these stories of horror and love contain a message for all of us who are in better situation, itīs
surely the message that we should practise humility. We will only find out what we are able to do, in
good times an in bad times, if we are put to the test.