Reviving a Nazi-era play to make a point (nudge, nudge) about today's politics
An eye-opening view of how the German people allowed themselves to be taken over and stampeded into war and horrendous atrocities by Hitler and his minions emerges from Bertolt Brecht's rarely seen "Fear and Misery of the Third Reich." In a loose collection of short scenes, mostly written between 1933 and '38, Brecht chronicled the erosion of rights, mutual trust and all forms of professional integrity in the homeland he'd had to flee.
SS men intimidate through casual insinuations. Apartment dwellers are stunned to see what a careless word has done to a neighbor. A teacher trembles in fear of being turned in for an unguarded comment by one of his students, perhaps his own son. Physicists huddle furtively, afraid to speak the name "Einstein" aloud. A doctor quickly accepts the Gestapo's diagnosis of the trauma on a corpse. A judge agonizes over a case in which he must decide whether the Jewish victim or the communist "provoked" an SS attack, having been warned that paid-off Nazi officials could be offended whichever way he decides.
The short scenes add up to a very different picture of Nazi Germany than usual -- one that focuses less on what happened to Jews and other minorities (though Brecht doesn't ignore "the Jewish question") than on the domination of the mass of Germans and elimination of dissent through the wily and heavy-handed use of the politics of fear. That alone is reason to be grateful to Berkeley's intrepid little Eastenders Repertory Company for a rare look at "Fear." But there's more.
comments powered by Disqus
Randll Reese Besch - 5/19/2007
The politicts of fear are alive & active in the crumbling democratic-republic of the USA in these times of approching darkness. By some estimeates are the USA is about 1934 in relation to what happened to Germany.Actually a group of corporations calling themselvesthe"Fraternity" intended to overthrow the Roosvelt administration but was foiled by their choice of Gen.Butler over Macarther. Otherwise the Fascist USA would have joined the Axis to rule the world.We are not too far from a similar loss of freedom now.
- 150 years later, schools are still a battlefield for interpreting Civil War
- Where are America's memorials to pain of slavery, black resistance?
- Richmond split over Confederate history
- The World's Jewish Population Is Nearing Pre-Holocaust Levels
- Bernie Sanders’s Revolutionary Roots Were Nurtured in ’60s Vermont
- Did a historian who said he’s a victim of McCarthyism get the story wrong?
- Stephanie Coontz’s work on the history of marriage cited by the Supreme Court.
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- David Hackett Fischer wins $100,000 prize for lifetime achievement in military writing