PowerPoint Presentation - The Grey Zone by Tim Blake Nelson

The Grey Zone
by Tim Blake Nelson
World War II
Auschwitz Concentration Camp,
Poland, 1944
World War II
Allied Powers: England (UK), France, USSR, USA,
Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan
Over 60 million dead; 70 nations involved -- highest
death toll of any war on the planet.
12 million killed in Adolf Hitler’s eugenic plan to
create the “master race.” The Holocaust. 6 million
Jews, plus homosexuals, gypsies, disabled, Poles,
Soviet POW’s, political prisoners, communists
WW II cont’d
Immediate causes: Japan invades China, 1937,
Germany invades Poland, 1939.
Underlying causes: pressures from Treaty of
Versailles and worldwide depression.
US entered war following attack on Pearl Harbor
then Philippines, Dec 7-8, 1941.
Imperialism and nationalism; Japan sought more
land and natural resources in China and Pacific
Islands; Germany conquered Czech, Poland,
Finland, Norway, Denmark, USSR, France, Holland,
Belgium; Italy took on Balkan nations, Greece,
North Africa. Axis control was broadest 1942 -- still
pushing east.
End of WW II
Allies free North Africa 1943, then take South Italy.
USSR gains ground on eastern front in 1944,
including Romania (axis). Hungary (axis) hotly
contested in fall, Germany holds it but it’s the last
victory in the East; bloody siege of Budapest. Poland
expects USSR, arrive in winter.
US regains islands in Pacific, advancing toward
Japan 1944-45.
D Day, June 6 1944, allies invade Normandy
1945; Allies advance on Berlin from east and west;
Soviets fight street by street in April, Hitler commits
suicide April 30; Mussolini executed. VE Day May 8,
1945. August: 2 allied atomic bombs; VJ Day 14th
Some refer only to intentional genocide of Jews;
most look at all groups intentionally destroyed by
Hitler and National Socialist Party
Bureaucratic machinery, mass production, scientific
experiment all put into service of “final solution of
Jewish question”
Kristallnacht: 9 Nov 1938; beginning of sanctioned
violence, 30K Jews sent to concentration camps
1940-41: Ghettos to which Jews are sent, in cities
Spring 1942 death camps begin to operate. 6 big
ones in occupied Poland. Auschwitz used gas:
Zyklon B (cyanide); crematoria.
Real setting of Grey Zone
Auschwitz-Birkenau was largest of Nazi camps.
Auschwitz was labor camp and Birkenau the
extermination camp. 26 May 1940, liberated by
Soviets 27 Jan 1945.
Birkenau: 4 gas chambers and crematoria (play
refers to 1 and 3)
1.6 million Jews killed; 8K per day; few months of
1944 - 438K Hungarian Jews (at time of play). Over
2 million total killed.
Upon arrival on transports,people sent to death, to
work, to medical experiments, or a few as
Real source for Grey Zone
Nyiszli’s Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account
Autopsies and scientific research for Mengele. Mostly
on twins, children, experiments ending in death
Dr. Josef Mengele, Angel of Death, was a medical
officer; Dr. Miklos Nyiszli chosen to work for him
Quote from book of finding a girl alive after gassing
Muhsfeldt was commandant of 1 crematorium
Real source (cont’d)
Sonderkommando: Jewish men chosen for health
and strength; prepared people for gas chambers,
moved corpses to crematoria (SS actually gassed).
Hired more for Hungarian massacre: 1000 total
Rewards include living, plus eating well, clothes and
matresses, raiding corpses
“Grey zone” created by ashes from crematoria
October 7, 1944: #3 Sonderkommando rebelled,
blew up a crematorium; #1 joined them and broke
out. Men had learned they were about to be killed.
Stockpiled makeshift weapons
SS captured and killed nearly everyone
History of the Play
Nelson’s play focuses on moral issues of
“collaborators.” They are not given a choice-do it or die.
Girl focuses their ethical position-- they see
her as a possible redemption.
Rebellion shows different effects-- some don’t
want to live, some fight for life.
Premiere 10 Jan 1996