Otto Aurich & Lisl Frank
Performance during the Holocaust
A PAJ BOOK
of Illustrations xi
Theatrical Performance in Nazi
Hinkel and German Jewry, 1933-1941
Enough Tsoris": Laughter at the Edge of the Abyss 40
with Mascha Benya-Matz 6l
with Kurt Michaelis 67
BAB AND FRITZ WISTEN
Nazi Propaganda Ministry 76
Dramaturg Dr. Leo Hirsch 81
from Actor Kurt Suessmann to Martin Brandt
from Fritz Wisten to Max Ehrlich 87
Performance in Ghettos and in Concentration Camps 91
Performance in Ghettos and in Concentration Camps 91
Activities in the Polish Ghettos during the Years 1939-1942 97
Activities in the Nazi Concentration Camps 117
in the Face of Death: A Study of Jewish Cabaret and Opera during the Holocaust 125
Activities in the Vilna Ghetto, March
from Surviving the Holocaust:The Kovno Ghetto Diary 140
behind Barbed Wire 145
Freest Theater in the Reich": In the German Concentration Camps 150
Yiddish Theater of
from Letters from Westerbork 159
from Year of Fear l6o
from The Scum of the Earth 163
from If This Is a Man 165
from Ravensbrück: The Women's Death Camp
| "The Model Ghetto": Theatrical Performance at Terezin 167
in a Death Camp 179
Performances in Terezin: Krasa's Brundibar 190
DOCUMENTS AND MEMOIRS
from Theresienstadt 208
in Theresienstadt 209
Czech Theater in Terezin 231
Emperor of Atlantis [Der Kaiser von Atlantis] 250
Music by Viktor Ullmann
Text by PETER KIEN
of Theresienstadt 26$
Lost, Stolen, and Strayed: The Archival Heritage of Modern German-Jewish History
Selected Bibliography 327
List of Contributors 333
Laughter at the Edge of the Abyss
The daily situation on
same time in 1937, a master of ceremonies steps in front of an enthusiastic
amusing lecture, which has been previously submitted for approval and censorship
to Hans Hinkel, the chief of Jewish cultural affairs in Goebbels's ministry,
the Jewish cabaret artist reflects on a chimera: namely, Jewish cabaret:
"We have no experience in Jewish intimate theater or Jewish cabaret -
a domain that does not exist. We can
only try to find our own way by building on that which in the cultural tradition
of Jewish cabaret-goers satisfied them. Because a cabaret of only Jewish artists
with works by Jews for Jews is by far no Jewish cabaret." A Jewish joke? In
his introductory remarks to his Tourists - A Cabaret of Jewish Authors,
this evening on Berlin's Kurfürstenstrasse the professional cabarettist, Elow -
who now must use the name Erich Lowinsky again - jokes about the joke itself to
his Jewish audience: "The best is still this: One person meets another. The
other says: 'I know.. ..' But the time for jokes is over. It is our duty to
bring you joy and lift your spirits." And after a short pause, he resumes:
"One can also take joy seriously." What sounds like a punchline is
earlier in the Monatsblatter des Jüdischen Kulturbundes, Margarete
Edelheim posed the fundamental question about mirth with proper seriousness:
"Does Jewish cabaret exist?" This journalist continuously demanded in
her reviews for the C.V. [
of these revue-like collages graced the Kulturbund stage in November 1934: Berliner
Bilderbogen-Östlicher Bilderbogen [
half of the program, on the other hand, pleased critics because it "gave
rise to the message from the land of our children and our hope. The old 'Blue
Bird' rose; a series of medieval images passed; an eternal ghetto came to life;
sweet Romantic conjured up a fairy-tale of the "Nowhere King.'" That
actually sounds like a new version of the The Blue Bird, known in Berlin
during the 1920s as a product of the Russian emigre stage that once formulated
its intentions in this way: "Tired of politics and daily life, the Russian
went to his cabaret in search of a complete break from the reality of life and a
cheerful escape from himself in music, color, and play."
Eliaschoff's illustrated songs, which included the laughing rabbi, the little
Jew with his little fiddle, and little Duderle "whose burdensome little
pack almost pressed him to the ground," were enthusiastically received by
the fudische Rundschau and perceived as a political event. "An
awakening passed through the whole theater, and as if touched by some invisible
hand, the people stood, clapped, shouted with joy, laughed, and wept.... Feeling
is all. Names and ideas are immaterial. It was blessed to be connected to - no,
to be part of a community - a people."
that the cabaret stage might enable one to gain strength, self-revelation, or
orientation soon proved itself misleading, especially since the expectations of
audiences were as varied as the programs that the Kulturbund presented between
1934 and 1941. Eliaschoff tried a second time to offer a scenic blend of modern
city life and East European Jewish ghetto folklore. This time the description of
Jewish cabaret was no longer mentioned, not even when Eliaschoff staged a
"new East European and
remained an unease with what should be presented on the Kulturbund's cabaret
stage which, after all, should offer something to the most people possible.
"What does cabaret mean for us in our situation?" the Jüdische
Rundschau asked itself two years later in regard to the expected premiere of
Tourists. The answer may sound "rather primitive" to readers:
"According to us, material for Jewish cabaret is everything that has to do
with Jewish content, can be understood by Jews in Germany, and can - and may be
- encapsulated in small form." As to how this could be accomplished, the
same newspaper suggested: "One paints colored placards and sings folk songs
in unison beneath them." Yet in the next sentence the writer cast doubt on
these words, "How questionable that all is!"
way, Elow tried to incorporate relevant and timely themes in his Tourists
program, all the while remaining true to his motto, "the cabaret is always
the fool of its time." The one-time managing editor of the once-famous
Berliner comic stage, the Namenlosen [Nameless] (which Erich Kästner made into
a literary monument in Fabian), tried to delete what the Jewish press had
criticized from the Kulturbund's cabaret beginnings as "reminiscences of an
earlier, long gone time, ... a mishmash of isolated Herrnfeld Theater4
and stale Kabarett der Komiker," and finally as a "salad of very old
Berlin N and Berlin W Remains" with the "ugly smack ofunequivocalness
the opening address and the songs focused on "Goodbye 1937" and
emigration, of a letter from the brother in
the reviewer had basic doubts. Tourists was in the well-established
tradition of the comic stage (the program noted, "costumes: our own;
scenery: none; beards: our
property"). But while the production literarily tingled in front of an
"audience laden with worry," according to the Jüdische Rundschau, it
neglected to "criticize the weaknesses of Jewish life - which a cabaret is
supposed to do" - in spite of "honest attempts and well-earned
success." On the other hand, the introductory address "should have
been less sharp" than it turned out to be. And although "the whole
event maintained high standards and satisfied intellectual and artistic demands
- combined with a natural need for entertainment throughout," there
"are (and always were) experiences that are too serious to be expressed by
cabaret? Even Margarete Edelheim concluded, "we cannot easily have Jewish
cabaret. We will always perceive Hassidic dances, East European Jewish folk
songs, the song of the Rothschilds, the description of any New York ghetto
scene, or a folk song from the Emek (East European region] as small slices of
the reality which together present the diversity of Jewish life in the Diaspora
and in Palestine. . . . Even so, however, we should not dispense with Jewishness
in cabaret." What exactly that was, though, remained unclear: "Only
the best, only true art and culture may be presented to Jews in the various
Kulturbund theaters. What may not be shown are the rejected remains of an
illusory culture of the metropolis - something we've been seeing in the cabarets
of the last decades."
required the "squaring of the circle": Laugh, but not too much; offer
measured fun with profundity that distracts the audience. The discussion
centered on a seemingly academic question, namely, whether there actually could
exist what really was not supposed to exist. Obviously, this discussion drew its
Contemporary relevance from the tension between the Kulturbund's aims to
"offer Jews relaxation and pleasure" and the increasing seriousness of the daily situation in which this task was to be fulfilled. The question of how Jewish the cabaret had to be - if even such a thing existed - pointed to the absurdity of the situation in which the question was seriously discussed. In practice, there was something much more fundamental to consider: the ambivalence of human beings' basic needs in no-win situations. The joke as a drug; satire and irony as harbingers of hope; the punchline as a weapon of resistance; fun as distraction; and laughter to document the will to survive - right there in places where laughter sticks in ones throat. This all marks an unsolvable problem with which those people who faced death on the ramp ofAuschwitz had to deal.
cabaret artists themselves wrestled with the question differently back then - in
fact, more practically. Prominent artists still popular among audiences -
blacklisted overnight - without a possibility to perform, grabbed any
opportunity they could to appear onstage -
regardless of the conditions. Erich
Lowinsky's newly opened Kunstlerspiele Uhlandeck in
application for readmission was rejected: "According to the will of the Führer
and Reichs-Chancellor, only suitable
and responsible fellow country-men may administer German culture as indicated in
paragraph 10 of the first ordinance for implementing the laws of the
Reichskulturkammer. In light of the lofty relevance that spiritual and
culture-creating work has on the life and the development of the German people,
only those persons are qualified -
without a doubt - to execute such a task in Germany who belong to the German
race not only as citizens of the state, but also through their deep connection
in manner and in blood ... Because you are not an Aryan...."
existence of the Jüdischer Kulturbund would come to Erich Lowinsky's attention
in a letter from the president of the Reich Union for German Artistry. The
opportunity to appear before an audience in spite of the ban was for many
artists a way out during a time without prospects. So they played on from 1934
various places, Jewish cabarets were established where well-known artists
participated and where unknowns showed off their talent: the Kunterbunte Würfel
[Topsy-turvy Cube] in Frankfurt; Leo Raphaeli's Rosarote Brille [Rose-Colored
same time, the actors, singers, and dancers of
performed afternoon and evening variety shows, at cabarets, and even for social
evenings of the Jtidischer Kulturbund. For example, in April 1938, Camilla Spira
and Max Ehrlich presented skits in between a dance competition and a raffle
whose first prize was a trip to
to rely on their ability for improvisation -
not only onstage, for a stage was
not always available. Egon Jacobsohn reported in the Jüdische Allgemeine
Zeitung (November 1934) on a variety show in
programs were strictly monitored. Gestapo reports noted the sequence of musical
numbers, reactions of the audience, and whether or not there existed a
"reason to object to the lectures." This was not usually the case;
however, the texts were subject to strict censorship and had to be submitted to
Hinkel's office for appraisal prior to performances. And just about anything
that belonged to a cabaret critical of its times fell victim to Hinkel's red
marker. The censor would find and strike allusions to the times, insubordination
in tone and gesture, "between the lines," hidden meanings and messages
within words, and double-entendres. Forbidden were parodying lines that referred
to Heine's "Lorelei" or Goethe's "Erlkönig"; jests about
baptism; jokes about ancestry, race, and the power of holy water; as well as
allusions to what "kind of a grandmother one has." Any Chansons
submitted by Dela Lipinskaja had no chance for acceptance - her "Lügenlieder,"
for example ("although they already are lying like troopers, accept my
verse graciously")6 or the poem by Bry about two trees in the
forest, where some things are puffed up "in pride," such as "a
large family tree which is essentially of the same wood as a small tree
trunk."7 Further, permission was denied those texts that dealt
comically with the situation of the Jews - an example of which was written by
Willy Prager - "What good is it if one is sad and no longer gay, because
we're bankrupt anyway!"8
was especially hard on Ludwig Hardt, banning his recitations temporarily because
his "manner of speaking ridicules
onset of World War II, the Kulturbund's cabaret interpreters saw what a
precarious situation they were in professionally; everything that was not
expressly permitted was forbidden. In January 1940, the Reichsministerium für
Volksaufklärung und Propaganda announced in a protocol note for Jewish masters
of ceremonies what Goebbels would soon order for Aryan cabaret artists: a ban on
all onstage addresses made by cabaret emcees. An instruction to the Jüdischer
Kulturbund stated that "Before submitting requests in the area of
cabaret, it is essential to prevent such sketches as those by Prager and
Tachauer, in which . . . one cannot distinguish whether they are tasteless or
brazen. All lectures, texts like Prager, Willi [sic] Rosen, Tachauer, and others
will no longer be authorized."9
threatened the cabaret artists from the other side as well. The Kulturbund -
more than once the target of its own cabaret's sport - did not even submit those
self-mocking texts to the censor for appraisal. "Gute Verbindungen"
["Good Connections"] was one of the texts that made fun of patronage
at the Kulturbund:
Have you heard? Oh? Do you already know?
Whosiwhatsit, the son of, you know, what's his name?
The singer has no theater engagement anymore. What?
What's he doing now? Well, you know,
The boy is truly a genius.
What? He should join the Kulturbund?
Oh, Thanks! With Eizes I'm
Do put yourself in his shoes
There one hears: Nebbich ! 10
Singer, who saw these lines first, noted in the margin on 8 September 1937,
"Ill-spirited trash. Don't pass on!" 11
Singer, who saw these lines first, noted in the margin on 8 September 1937,
article from 1935 entitled "A Jewish Theater in
article from 1935 entitled "A Jewish Theater in
have seen through the alibi nature of such a "cultural movement,"
along with Kurt Tucholsky (whose effective, popular texts belonged to the
cabaret repertory for some time), but many of the actors and cabaret stars saw
no alternative for themselves. At the mercy of the German language for better or
for worse, they apparently found it more difficult te emigrate than other
artists - painters or musicians, for example. Add to that, especially for
cabaret artists, an astonishing naivete and blindness concerning the political
currents of those years: One did not take especially seriously the brown masses
that marched through the streets at the beginning of the 1930s.
clear enough in a mini dialogue between professional cabaret stars of the times,
Kurt Robitschek, who directed KadeKo, and the comic Kurt Lilien. When
Robitschek spoke of the need to gradually look for exile, Lilien naively
rejoined, "What do you mean by that?" And to the next question whether
he had not read Mem Kampf, 12 Lilien answered, "I don't
read bad books." The short exchange - almost a music-hall skit - does have
its bitter point: Robitschek made it to
Valetti was the grand old Dame of Berlin's theater - the actress with the
unmistakable face of a bull who played the role of cabaret director in the film,
The Blue Angel. She was also known as the surly and sharp-voiced "Diseuse"
who performed her songs and sketches in her own cabarets, the Rakete, Größenwahn,
Rampe, and Larifari. Just before she left
the Kulturbund stage in such Boulevard comedies as Weekend and Sturm
im Wasser. 13 Her farewell to her audience, reported the Gemeindeblatt,
took place amid "lively ovations," during a variety show, replete with
Chansons, skits, and poems by Kästner and Kaleko.14
actors waited, hesitating to emigrate. In fact, homesickness urged some of the
refugees to return to the German Reich from the safe havens to which they had
fled. Opportunities to appear onstage at the Jüdischer Kulturbund, for example,
played a significant role in luring actors home. Willy Rosen, for instance, had
long since emigrated to
the same time (1935), Dora Gerson also returned to
and cannot help doing so
We sit inside the
and can only hate ourselves for it.
We've created electric light,
and yet cannot see ourselves.
We've invented Esperanto
and will never understand ourselves.
The world has become vast, so horribly vast.
And all our hopes are dreams.
You became clever
and have become ready
to be but chaff on this
1936, Gerson returned to
1936, Gerson returned to
Max Ehrlich also came to
Valeska Gert apparently could not live without her
Camilla Spira was much in
demand for years as an actress and cabaret artiste. She won great acclaim as the
blond innkeeper of the Rössl in the popular pro-duction by Charell. And on the
occasion of the premiere of her film, Morgenrot, she received a laurel
wreath, "To the Personification of the German Woman -
Prager hosted the evening; Prager, an old master of the cabaret, had already
enthralled listeners during Imperial Germany in Rudolf Nelson's Chat Noir. Even
though "the audience laughed so that the rows of benches shook," the C.V.-Zeitung
was concerned that the cabaret stars lacked the deep solemnity appropriate for
the new situation: "Revealed here is the actual, even tragic difficulty of
people who lack the profound Jewish security." The same might be said of
the audience "that is obviously inspired by the dusty old jokes and art
forms of a lost world." The reason for such harsh criticism was the fact
that the program included "not only very old jokes, but some tasteless ones
about Tel Aviv." Also,
the "only thing Jewish" about a scene entitled "Simchat Torah at
home": the "two silver candlesticks and the hand movements of Nelly
Hirth." Moreover, a picture was drawn of "an unpleasant family, using
very un-Jewish jokes, whose age cannot even be written with two-figure
Margarete Edelheim called cabaret sketches like "Karriere"
["Career"] and "Ein Besuch im Kulturbund" ["A Visit to
the Kulturbund"] an "embarrassing mistake"; it was
incomprehensible "how even one Jewish hand could applaud." No indeed,
it was concluded: Such portrayals were "neither Jewish nor German -
not even culture or art."
who applauded Willy Rosen, now an internationally renowned entertainer of the
Kabarett der Komiker, at the Kulturbund's first cabaret evening were criticized.
Neither were Rosen's talented new hits updated, nor did he modify his standard
audience address, "Text and music from me!" In fact the numbers
represented yesterday, because they "could have been sung in 1911 as well
as in 1932 - but in 1934? The audience, however, rejoiced and was happy."
not alone in reprimanding its audience or in challenging the Kulturbund
repeatedly to turn from the "path that led into a thicket, not a free
atmosphere." Indeed, the Kulturbund must "not react to the audience:
It must educate it." The Jüdische Liberate Zeitung also responded
mently against the aims and tastes of Willy Rosen's October 1934 performance. The cabaret star's finale especially "drew the audience into a 'strudel' of his powerful
newspaper commented further on the presentation's lively mood. "In all
understanding for the social needs of the actors, it must be said that the
Kulturbund also has to fulfill tasks it established with the choice of its
What could be meant by this could also be read in The C. V.-Zeitung: The Kulturbund must not be satisfied with "this kind of intimate theater; in spite of the great laughter-filled success" it must create "true cabaret evenings, so that one may at least sense that one is in a league of 'culture,' and not in one of the former theaters on the Kurfürstendamm."
Such objections all but disappeared when the much-criticized Kurfürstendamm-cabaret
prominence actually did move into the Kommandantenstrafie with Max Ehrlich as
its director. In October 1935, Ehrlich - once the star of the world-renowned
KadeKo - termed
his own institution at Cafe
"Jewish cabaret - today: two words which do not connect well.
Cabaret gains its true legitimization from reality. Jewish reality is sorrow,
need, concern - appearances that in
the cabaret's colored footlights would hardly make a good impression." In
the end, however, the reviewer was also convinced by the concept Ehrlich had
described in his opening address (grabbing the bull by the horns, so to speak).
Among the many congratulations he had received since the cabaret's debut,
one sentence was especially noteworthy. Someone had written him: "Be really
funny. We've enough tsoris at home." This, said director Ehrlich,
should be the motto of his cabaret.
His success proved him right. The press championed his "choral and
creative art" evident both "scenically and musically in the polished,
successful performance." The press also legitimized the needs of the
enthusiastic audience "to allow themselves to be transported for a few
hours from the darkened existence into the illusion of unburdened
brightness." And indeed, the experienced professional, Max Ehrlich -
well-versed in staging techniques - had arranged his show with a rapid
succession of only those numbers whose success had been proven. And so with
confident grandeur, the clever director offered his audience - so keen on
distraction - a program unlike ones by his predecessors: a bouquet of joyous
cabaret fun. "Mr. Honest will last the longest!"16 called
the Jüdische Allgemeine Zeitung to the man who for three years would
give the light muse a lasting home during hard times.
His formula for cabaret was as simple as his tested entrance numbers and
their capable scenic preparations. In front of [Heinz] Condell's fairly opulent,
painted backdrops, Ehrlich always introduced scenes and sketches with the
standard flourish "Just take a look at this!" The numbers ranged from
"Gespielte Witze" to a new version of Wilhelm Bendow's skit,
"Aufder Rennbahn" ["On the Racetrack"], to happy Chansons
that reminisced about the good old days. And Ehrlich moderated brilliantly as a
mimic in his "Parade" number, a parody of prominent artists,
memorializing such recording stars as Richard Tauber, Marlene Dietrich, Al
Jolson, and Fjodor Schaliapin.
brought his experienced cabaret colleague, Willy Rosen, back to
Rosen, a stage interpreter in
Ehrlich, or the "Tausendsassa"
["devil of a fellow" - the affectionate name the press gave him], was
inexhaustible. When a new program went well, he sought and found new tasks. He
directed for the Kulturbund stage, acted in Shakespeare, Courteline, and Molnar,
and hosted film premieres. And he was at home in "Fruit Cocktail." He
brought two unmistakable boulevard hits to his cabaret stage: Warum lugst du,
Cherie? [Why Are You Lying, Darling? - Hans Lengsfelder/Siegfried Tisch] and
Essig und 01 [Vinegar and Oil - Siegfried Geyer/Paul Frank]. He had
tested his effectiveness in front of audiences with Vinegar and Oil
during the time of Max Reinhardt. In the "modern fairy-tale," Max
Ehrlich played a fruit vendor who decides not to hang himself because he sells a
girl the rope he had planned to put around his neck.
metaphor? The allusions to the time in which Ehrlich learned to create good
spirits are vague. Even the travel-revue, All Aboard! (March 1937) for
which the director decorated both the auditorium and the stage as a train
station, although signaling a major farewell, did not overstate the parallels to
the times. Arthur Eloesser commented in the Jüdische Rundschau: "We
know that we'll have a good ride with Max Ehrlich. Among 23 stations there are
surely several which aren't worth a stop; but with this conductor, derailments
into platitudes are not to be feared. The journey with Ehrlich does not go far;
it's a trip to familiar places like
Ehrlich finally boarded the train for
be revived not long after in the concentration camp, Westerbork - that
"waiting hall of death." More than one hundred thousand Jews were
rounded up there, among them the prominent cabarettists of
commandant at Westerbork, SS-Obersturmführer Gemmeker, was a friend of the
light muse known as cabaret. He had a stage erected in the registration
barracks, a building from where those consecrated to death were sent to
that Max Ehrlich and Willy Rosen brought to their "
always performed when the transports headed for the extermination
camps - cabaret as a mood drug to quiet the candidates for death. "My God," wrote Etty Hillesum in her diary: "The room was full to a bursting point and one laughed tears, yes tears!" Philip Mechanicus noted shortly before his deportation: "We're all sitting here up to our necks in filth, but in spite of that, one chirrups. Psychological riddle. Operetta music at the opened grave . . . Amid jokes, they blow to death."20
appeared on Ehrlich's concentration camp stage saw a chance for survival. Willy
Rosen, according to fellow inmates, for example, auditioned his songs for the
SS-commandant: "He sang for his life, sang his lungs out of his
chest." In fact, he even wrote new songs for the camp's stage: "If one
is unlucky, then life has no meaning; if one is unlucky, then one slips and
falls down. That's why I beg you, Fortune, to be true to me."21
failed to appear. In the beginning of August 1944, it was time. Commandant
Gemmeker dissolved the camp and sent his cabarettists on a transport; the
"special trains" rolled by Theresienstadt to
There's always someone somewhere whom one laughs about.
There's always someone somewhere who makes the jokes.
Someone is intended to play the fool.
It lasts one's whole life and begins in school.
Someone must wander through life - the eternal clown.
Ach, people like to laugh, especially at the cost of
There's always someone somewhere whom one laughs about.
There's always someone somewhere who will play the
Note: Kühn's references are to his unpublished
TV-interviews with Camilla Spira and
to documents from the Fritz-Wisten and Elow archive collections of the
Notes compiled by translator. Tsoris
is Yiddish for "troubles, pain, concerns."
Friedrich Hollaender and Rudolf Nelson were part of the
Kurt Tucholsky and Erich Kästner were well-known German satirists and writers.
Tucholsky, a Jew, emigrated immediately after Hitler's takeover. Kästner's work
was immediately blacklisted by the Nazi government.
The author's reference here distinguishes between simple rhymes and the more sophisticated verse geared for cabaretgoers of a
higher economic class.
The Herrnfeld Theater (named after two brothers) was the first
6"Obwohl sich schon die Balken biegen, nehmt meine Verse gnädig hin."
7 The German play on words by Curt Bry refers to family trees and
ancestry: "im Stolze manch grosser Stammbaum... aus gleichem Holze wie ein
8"Was nutzt, wenn man traurig ist und nicht mehr froh, denn pleite
sind mer sowieso!"
See "Protocol" from 5 January 1940 in
Part I, documents.
The Yiddish words Eizes and Nebbich, respectively, mean "good
advice" and "so what." The German original text is as follows:
Sie gehört? Ja? Wissen Sie schon?
Der Dings, der, na von dem Dings der Sohn,
Der Sänger hat kein Engagement mehr. Wie?
Was er nun macht? Ja, wissen Sie,
Der Junge ist direkt ein Genie.
Was? Er soll zum Kulturbund gehn?
Sie, danke! Mit Eizes bin ich versehn.
Versetzen Sie sich doch in seine Lage.
Da hört man: Nebbich!
11 Gemauschel is a German expression that Singer used to refer to
the text. The word comes from an expression used in medieval
12 This was Hitler's manifesto.
plays are by Noel Coward and Bruno Frank.
Kaleko was a successful East European lyric poet living in
German text is as follows:
sausen mit tausend PS dahin,
können es nicht mehr lassen.
sitzen im Turm vom Babel drin
können uns nur noch hassen.
haben das Licht elektrisch gemacht
können uns trotzdem nicht sehen.
haben ein Esperanto erdacht
werden uns niemals verstehen.
Welt ist weit geworden
So furchtbar weit geworden
alle Hoffnungen sind Träumerein.
bist gescheit geworden und bist bereit geworden
dieser Welt nur Spreu zu sein ...
is the German word for "honest"; the newspaper reviewer puns using a
German proverb on honesty.
"Immer langsam, immer langsam, immer mit Gemütlichkeit
es ist noch nicht soweit, wir haben noch lange Zeit...."
is a make-believe place which in this context refers to a stale joke that makes
you groan, "an old chestnut," or "Kalauer."
Bab was a writer and drama critic who became the Kulturbund's first dramaturg.
He eventually emigrated to the
20 The reference in German uses a hunting term, "zum
Halili blasen," which is when hunters blow their horns to signal that an
animal is dead.
man kein Glück hat,
hat das Leben keinen Sinn;
man kein Glück hat,
rutscht man aus und fällt man hin
bitt ich dich, Fortuna, bleib mir treu...."
is the sad clown. The German text reads as follows:
gibt's immer einen, über den man lacht,
Überall gibt's immer einen, der die Witze macht.
Einer ist dazu bestimmt, den Narren abzugeben,
Das fängt in der Schule an, und bleibt das ganze Leben.
Einer muß als ewiger Clown durch das Dasein wandern,
Ach, die Menschen lachen gern - auf Kosten eines andern:
immer einen, über den man lacht,
Überall gibt's immer einen, der für euch - den Pojaz macht.
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