Peter Weiss: The Nazi Trial

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Almost twenty years after the Nazis defeat, the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials began. This was the second trial for Nazi soldiers stationed in Auschwitz. Over the course of two years, twenty-two defendants were tried for their actions during the Holocaust. These trials took place in Germany and were open to the public. This was somewhat of a way to bring the details of the Holocaust to the public. In fact, there were three hundred and sixty witnesses called to the stand over the course of the trial. There has been little portrayal of these court hearings in literature, movies, or other forms of entertainment. Peter Weiss wrote a small play titled The Investigation. This play condenses two years of trial in two hundred and seventy short pages. …show more content…
Weiss could have made them say anything. If he did not incorporate a sense of justice, that’s his fault.” Yet, writing about the Holocaust should not be taken lightly, and Weiss did not take it lightly either. Take for example the lines of dialogue written. These words are actual testimony from the trials. Weiss took some creative differences, such as shortening stories or merging two or more people into one. Yet, the lines stay true to what was stated during the trial. Weiss did not have to make up words or write a fictional testimony to feel his message complete. He must think justice was done when he left the play as it …show more content…
The most profound evidence is that the word “Jew” is not used a single time in the entire book, nor was “German.” It is interesting that Weiss chose this goal after the horrific events took place. Yet, this is a noble goal because after a tragic event, the only option we can do is come together. Weiss did not want to separate people by labels. In the end of it all, Weiss was writing a play that tells a story of the survivors of the Holocaust, not about the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial. He could not build props or give scene direction about the death camps to portray them, so he chose the trial instead. In the notes section of the book, Weiss even states “Any such reconstruction would, in the opinion of the author, be as impossible as trying to present the camp itself on the stage.” Weiss’s sense of justice came from letting these Witnesses tell their story on the stand not from the verdicts of the

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