It’s 1941, Rudolf Höss, Commandant of Auschwitz, has assembled his SS personnel in a secret meeting with the express purpose of introducing a new method for exterminating Europe’s Jewish population: Zyklon B, a deadly poison gas. Every soldier in attendance was sworn to secrecy, and no one questioned its usage. No one that is except for Abraham Könisberg. Könisberg is a lone Jewish prisoner who is forced to participate in the meeting and be humiliated by Höss. Könisberg knows he is to be punished for his recent escape but what he doesn’t realise is that he is the very prisoner upon which this “lesson” would soon be demonstrated.
A Lesson from Auschwitz is intense. So intense you’ll be grateful that it’s only an hour long, but I in no way mean that as a negative towards this incredibly interesting production.
The audience is presented with Höss. A man who can be easily described as pure evil as he spouts his national pride and hate for the “vermin”, the “parasite”, and the “flea” stood beside him in the instantly recognisable stripped uniform. This hateful man will make your skin crawl as he laughs at the new found “wonders” of Zyklon B and yet, his almost charismatic speech will leave you amazed at how he clearly believes he is doing the right thing.
Both Michael Shon and James Hyland are simply brilliant in their respective roles and deserve the highest of applause for these powerful performances.
It feels wrong to say I enjoyed this production, especially when considering how some parts were so hard to watch, yet I honestly believe this was one of the most powerful and most important pieces of theatre I’ve ever seen.
This performance was dedicated to “all the victims of the Holocaust” and is the perfect reminder of how important it is to keep the horrific memories alive. Well done to Brother WOLF for such an astounding and significant production.
We may try to push these images to back of our minds, or may be focused on the horrors within today’s world but we should never forget the lessons history can teach us. This production is the perfect way to remember and to honour those who tragically lost their lives.
Actors: James Hyland and Michael Shon
Writer/ Director/ Producer: James Hyland
Costume Maker (for Abraham Könisberg): Katie Males
Costume Maker (for Rudolf Höss): ww2sale.com
Composer: Chis Warner
Lyricist: James Hyland
Vocalist: Peter Thomas
Images courtesy of the Dom McHarrie. For more information head to the official Brothers WOLF website.