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Oratorio Based on Auschwitz Trial Will Be Produced in West Germany

An oratorio based on the court proceedings of the trial of the Nazi guards of the Auschwitz extermination camp, where hundreds of thousands of Jews were gassed by the Nazis will be produced in West Berlin in October and will be presented also in Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne, Essen and Brunswick. A shortened version will be shown on the German television networks, it was reported here today.

German born playwright Peter Weiss wrote the oratorio, entitled “The Inquiry,” after spending many weeks listening to eyewitness accounts of the crimes and atrocities committed by the guards of Auschwitz, extermination camp. The cast of the oratorio consists of a Judge–scheduled to be played by the German stage and screen actor Dieter Borsche prosecution and defense counsels, nine Jewish witnesses and 18 accused Nazi guards.

Noted West Berlin producer Erwin Piscator is scheduled to produce “The Inquiry.” Piscator who was exiled by the Nazis, described the oratorio as an attempt to “rouse the dormant conscience of the Germans and force them, by impact of the living stage, to face up at last to the historical implications of their acts.”

Highlights of the oratorio are: “Cantato of the Railway Siding”–the location where millions of Jews from all over Nazi occupied Europe were selected for the gas chambers–“The Zyklon Cantata” (zyklon is the cyanide crystals which were used in the gas chambers); and the “Cantata of the Swings”–this refers to the apparatus used to suspend trussed up victims while they were beaten to death.

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