A Lesson From Auschwitz, a short play performed in the Churchill Studio in Bromley, was a tough watch but ultimately worthwhile. The powerful Nazi Rudolf Hess lectures his audience on the importance of Auschwitz and other concentration camps, while a prisoner, Abraham Konisberg, stands to one side. Hess instructs us on the necessity of “extermination”: not even women, children or war veterans will be spared. This becomes important later on when we discover that Konisberg served under Hess in the army during World War I.
As Hess, James Hyland has an imposing physical presence and an air of authority: he delivers the Nazi’s speeches with conviction in a chilling and uncomfortable performance. Michael Shon gives a powerful performance as Konisberg, a man who has been worn down by life in Auschwitz but who still retains his dignity.
This is an incredibly powerful piece by Brother Wolf and it’s worth noting that all proceeds from the performance were donated to charity. It’s not an easy watch. The ‘lesson’ from Auschwitz that Hess wanted to impart might have been one thing, but the lesson we learn is another.