This was the euphemism for the ramp that led Jews from trains into gas chambers. Such beautiful expressions in either language. Yet they mask a deadly reality — cynical euphemisms for the ramp that leads Jewish concentration camp inmates to their deaths. They are linguistic disguises, just as performance becomes a disguise in Himmelweg to conceal the horrors of concentration camp life from a Red Cross Representative. Duped by what he sees, the Representative goes away satisfied that the rumours of inhumane Nazi death camps are untrue.
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It opens with a monologue by the Red Cross inspector. Next a series of tableaux are shown that had been directed by the Nazis, such as a small girl at play teaching her doll to swim. In the third scene, the camp commandant receives the Red Cross visitor in the event, a commission of several members had visited. In the final scene, Gottfried urges his players to "focus on their words and gestures," to perform this piece.
He knows they have to ignore the daily trains taking prisoners from Theresienstadt to what the audience knows and the prisoners fear are death camps. All the US productions were directed by Matthew Earnest. The Danish king had demanded that the Red Cross investigate reports that its deported Jewish citizens were being murdered. The Germans stalled before agreeing to permit the visit; they wanted to ensure the continued cooperation of Danish subjects working in war production factories, as they still occupied Denmark and had pressed many residents into labor.
Shortly before the visit, the Nazis deported 7, people to the Auschwitz concentration camp to eliminate overcrowding. Theresienstadt was cleaned up and staged as a model community. The Red Cross visitors saw newly planted flower gardens and freshly painted houses.
HIMMELWEG de Juan Mayorga en el Teatro Fernán Gómez