On 22 March 1933, the Nazi regime opened a concentration camp on the site of the shut-down Royal Bavarian Powder and Ammunition Factory Dachau. More than 200,000 prisoners from over 40 nations were imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp, and at least 41,500 people died there of hunger, disease, torture, murder and the consequences of imprisonment. Among them were about 2,100 Dutch people. Most of them were victims of mass arrests, which were intended to break the growing resistance to German occupation from 1943 onwards. The Gestapo also imprisoned numerous forced labourers in concentration camps for alleged refusal to work.

The Schauspielhaus Bochum and the Dutch Toneelgroep Amsterdam (formerly De Warme Winkel) are cooperating for a theatre project about this place. The starting point for the performance is the stage adaptation of a never-filmed screenplay about a trip by former Dutch concentration camp prisoners to the Dachau concentration camp decades after their liberation. Theatre-maker and actor Ward Weemhoff inherited this script from his late father and is now making it the centre of a theatre evening. In addition to the narrative, the performance pursues the question of what it means for members of the baby boomers to be the last generation that still has a direct emotional and familial connection to the Nazi era and its crimes. What task arises for them from this? How can they deal with the increasing time gap between them and what they remember and how can they keep it alive for today's young adults? Because contemporary witnesses are inevitably dying out in the 21st century, remembrance culture needs new formats and has the chance to use imagination and fiction in theatre.

What is special about this cooperation between Dutch and Germans is the way it brings together the country-specific perspectives on that time and the site of the concentration camp in Dachau. In a playful way, this idea has already been incorporated into the concept of the performance: The Dutch actors will play the German Nazis, and the German actors will embody the concentration camp inmates.

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  • Premiere: 05.11.2022
A production of the Schauspielhaus Bochum and the Toneelgroep Amsterdam, co-producer Internationaal Theater Amsterdam