# 141 – Ghetto by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 141 – Ghetto

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409

April 2, 2010

1-minute sirens have just sounded over the whole country. Holocaust Memorial Day. Started at sunset yesterday. The country makes all efforts to remember.

My daughter was in the bus at that moment. All traffic stops of course. Most drivers exit their vehicles and stand silently.

Some in the bus did not stand. My daughter – and others – frowned. At least respect.


It is coincidence that 3 days ago I saw Joshua Sobol’s play ‘Ghetto’. He’s the one who wrote Alma, the incredible multi-drama about Alma Mahler’s life in Vienna. (You must see it if you have the chance).


I’m not the one normally in line to buy tickets to plays about the WWII and its consequences, especially in Hebrew. In fact, I had declined Aviva’s invite, but did decide to take her and her sister, Rachel, to the theatre and have coffee with them before. Anyway, no tickets to be had. Very sold out. The play had a good reputation, starring some of Israel’s leading actors.


Rachel went for a walk – and came back with a ‘no show’ ticket for me. She insisted I could not miss this.

The audience was peppered with famous faces from the world of drama, media etc., making the evening just a little more special.


The play centres on the Vilna ghetto and the ‘relationship’ between the Nazi officer, the head of the Jewish police, and the Jewish theatre that exists for so many strange reasons.

And so many paradoxes –

  • the sadistic Nazi who has some culture (he carries two cases: 1 with the machine gun, the other with the saxophone) and who ‘loves’ the beautiful Jewish girl with the voice of an angel


     the Jewish policeman who must decide to sacrifice lives to save others

  • the actors who hate, but love their work and wish to impress

  • and the narrator, a ventriloquist whose female puppet expresses all he normally would keep inside: hatred for the Nazi, love for the girl, desperation for his people. He survives the tragedy, lives to tell the tale.


Next to me, an old lady. She had to see the play; it was too good to miss, too important to ignore. Yet when she covered her face with her hands and sobbed, it was obvious to me – she was from Vilna; she had been there.


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