"Shaddow of the wall- Janusz Korczak"

The musical and its background

    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.

    Janusz Korczak

    Janusz Korczak

    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 Warsaw.

     

    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 get.

    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.

    Korczk with children

    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.

    Dom Sierot at Korchmalna Street 92

    Dom Sierot

     

    The musical is divided into seven pictures:

        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 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.

    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.

 

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