The blog entitled A Ball for Genia is dedicated to Holocaust Remembrance. The medium of remembrance is a three-act play titled A Ball for Genia. The blog address is www.aballforgenia.blogspot.com. A Ball for Genia Facebook page supports the blog. You are welcome to send comments to email@example.com.
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings."
To evoke Lewis Carroll
the Looking Glass, “The time has come to talk of many things,” but not
about whether pigs have wings, but rather to talk of the end of the play ABall for Genia, and a little about
the play and who created it.The
playwright is Ralph E. Clarke, an all-around writer of more than sixty years,
mostly about business affairs, including even patent applications. He confesses
not to have written the play:“It came and wrote itself—a clear case of automaticwriting. I did not know these people, nor had ever had heard
suchnames as Dolek and Itzhak and Wachter. They came and spoke and left and
never roused themselves again except for an occasional plaint of ‘why don’t you
get this thing out into the world.’
And so this thing
came out into the world the form of a
weblog, known more popularly as a “blog.”Whether it will ever play on a full stage is a question, although parts
ofit has been performed in staged
readings.The whole thing could not have
been accomplished without the help of two of my daughters, both writers of
great promise, who will speak for themselves.
But to bring the
play in to the world was an unforgettableexperience for the memories it evoked.To bring it about, it was necessary to look again intothe faces of the victims pictured before their
last agony—the Jewish man with the eyeglasses about to be shot in the head to
fall into a ditch with the other victims…the little girl faced witha death she did not understand, and the plea
on her face let me live…the mother
with her children who was about to face an end in a gas chamber of unfathomable
horror—these can never be forgotten. Their pleas come down through the years—“Don’t
forget. Don’t forget us…don’t ever forget”—all
multiplied six million times.
As to the other
Dr. Alison Clarke
(PhD, English Language and Literature, King’s College London) lives in the UK
with her actor husband, and cat.She has
lived in London since 1989.She says:“I remember the first time I read my father’s
play.I was amazed and moved and so
impressed, but I wondered – why?How?
We’re not Jewish, and much as we have sympathy for what the Jewish people have
suffered over centuries, and a real and true horror of the Holocaust, I didn’t understand
where this might have come from.Now I
know.And I am even more impressed by
his writing – or he would call it his ‘translating’ - ability.It has been a true joy to work on this blog
with him.”Alison had the privilege, if
it can be called so, of visiting Auschwitz, an experience she will never
Stumpf writes for the Examiner as Chicago Community Life Examiner.Christine formerly wrote
for New West Magazine and is now widely-read on Facebook, most notably for her
accounts of the Chicago scene. Living in the heart of downtown, her finger is
on the pulse of what's happening, and she is often at the hot spots. Believing
that fun is vital, Christine likes to share it! Some readers say they live vicariously through
her; others consult her to help plan their trips to Chicago. Again, she is amazed by her father's writings and feels privileged to have contributed to this blog.
We are not going away. We feel this so importantly, that we will continue to update you with information about Holocaust Remembrance, and we wish to be a voice against the deniers. Yes, there are some. But we will never stop promoting and respecting the memory of all who died.
Namaste. Thank you for following us, and being with us.
bombing attack is over. The
occupants of Wachter’s house are all asleep.Falling asleep under a state of terrifying noise and imminent death was
noted among the populace of London during the attacks on London as the body’s
defense mechanism.If conditions become
too terrible to endure, sleep takes over.
Rabbi, Itzhak, Dolek, are slumped in chairs, asleep. Lusia is asleep with Genia
in her arms. Dolek and Sharon are also asleep close together. Sunlight is
streaming through the disarrayed drape that no longer hides the window, and the
usually dark room is now brightly lit. Shards of glass cover the floor beneath the
Itzhak starts up, nudges Marek.
Itzhak: Marek! Marek--wake up!
Marek: What . . . what's up?
sun--that's what up. It's morning.
Marek: So it is. [Yawns and
stretches] Have we been here all night?
Itzhak: All night. Who could go to
bed in such a racket? And—we’re still alive!
Marek: Come on! Let's see how badly the house has
been hit. You take the second floor; I'll go to the attic. [They exit quickly.].
Dolek: [Waking] Sharon!
Sharon: Yes, yes--what is it?
Dolek: It's morning!--and we're
Sharon: Good morning, my husband.
Dolek: Good morning, my wife. [They
Lusia: Genia--wake up, it's
morning. Holding you, my arm has fallen asleep.
Itzhak: [Running in, followed by Marek.]
Rabbi! Rabbi! [Shakes him awake.] Wake up, already.
Rabbi: [Wakens, and half asleep,
begins singing from the Sabbathservice.] "Blessed are
Thou, 0 Lord our God. . ."
Itzhak: No, Rabbi. That was last
night! [Shakes him] This is this morning.
Rabbi: Oh! Well--what is it, now, Itzhak?
Itzhak: [Shouts] Everybody, wake up!
Everyone, come in here!
Dolek: What's the excitement?
others offstage straggle in, murmuring sleepy objections to the disturbance.
Rabbi: What is it?
Itzhak: Marek and I looked around,
all around the house--second floor, attic, everywhere. The house is untouched except
for broken windows and shingles torn off.
Dolek: So we were lucky.
Itzhak: But that's not all.
[Speaking with awe and wonder.] I looked out from all sides of the house. This
house is still standing! There is not a building standing for blocks around.
Only this house . . .only this house .
are amazed. After a moment of silence, the Rabbi says:
And the Lord put forth his mighty arms and
shielded us from the Angel of Death.
Itzhak: Maybe he is back.
Rabbi: Who, Itzhak?
Rabbi: He was never gone, not
[A loud rumbling noise is
heard from the street as from an immense motorized vehicle. The rumbling stops
but the sound of a motor continues, followed by a grinding noise. All look at
each other in alarm. Heavy footsteps are heard approaching the door, together
with indistinguishable shouts.]
Itzhak: [At peephole] It's a man,
with a tank. The turret gun is turning--it's
pointed right at the house!
All cry out in a fearful babble:It’s the
Wermacht! The house--they see the house! Nothing
else around the house--It's the
Gestapo!--they've come for us! What can we do?--Run!
Dolek:Please!--Be silent. Let us at least find
out who it is.
Itzhak: I see a soldier--he's coming
closer. He's got a gun. I can't tell what kind of a soldier. Be quiet, now!
Dolek: Quiet, everybody.
[A thunderous knocking is
heard, as if made with a rifle butt.]
Itzhak: [Turns from door] Should we
open it? [The knockinggrows louder and more
Rabbi: Open it.
Lusia: It's the gestapo!
Sharon: We'll all be taken--oh, no!
Rabbi: Take comfort, my friends--if it has come to pass that we
must be taken, we will go together, with God.
[Runs in, excited] It is a soldier--a British
[A moment's silence.]
Itzhak: British? [Looks through
peephole.] By God, it is!
Rabbi: Open the door.
swings the door open, steps back.
OFFSTAGE VOICE. All right,
you! Any trouble and you'll get an 80 millimeter shell right in there. [A soldier
sidles into the room, rifle ready.]
fast moves now. Who are you people? German people?
Yes, we are German people. But come in, my friend. We are no danger to
Hey!--are you a Rabbi?
Rabbi:I am a Rabbi.
How about that--a Rabbi! [Enters warily, rifle
at ready. He comes face to face with Itzhak] Where am I--I feel like I’m in the
East End of London!
Itzhak: Glad to see you!
Dolek: Are we ever!
[There is a general babble of welcome.]
You're Jews, aren't you?
Rabbi:We are Jews--like you?
Yes, I'm a Jew.
Lusia: [Hugging him.] Sholom
aleichem! You have saved our lives!
Me? Sholom! My pleasure, lady. Glad to be of
ALL SAY. Sholom!
Sholom!From what I heard, no Jews are left. All in
camps, or dead.
Rabbi: We are here. We have
did you get here, in this house?
Rabbi: That is a long story.
Well, I haven't got time for it now--the gerries
are on the run, and we want to keep them running clear back to Berlin. They all
high-tailed it out of here after the bombing last night.
Dolek: Why did you stop here, at
It's the only one left--sticks out like asore thumb. Charlie--Charlie's he's the
tank commander says waltz up there and take a look inside--might be full of
Itzhak: Yes, we are
"krauts"--but not soldier krauts.
out the door.] All clear, Charlie.
Dolek:Any sign of the Waffen SS?
Who? What's the Waffle SS?
Rabbi: You have much to learn, if
you don't know about them.
Dolek: And you will learn, you and
the world. We swear to that.
they're Nazi troops, they're miles from here bynow.
Dolek: Thank God for that!
Rabbi:Are we safe?
Safe? How do you mean safe?
Rabbi: Is it safe—for Jews to leave
Who's to stop you? The occupation troops are
moving in now--the town's an Allied armed camp. The war's over around here.
We're the last to come through, the clean-up squad.
Rabbi: Did you hear?--we can go, my
friends.We can go!
murmur with pleasure and excitement.
Dolek: You are sure there's no
Danger? No, the town's yours, as far as I know.
[All except the soldier and
the Rabbi run offstage and return quickly with a joyful scrambling, each
carrying their little bag of identity papers and money. As they go and return, the Rabbi walks to the
front door and looks out. A burst of sunlight is streaming in.]
Rabbi: How beautiful is the sun ...
and the day. [Someone has brought the Rabbi's bag; hands it to him.] Thank you.
piercing yell is heard from the street, and the impatient revving up of the
powerful motor: Hey-y-y! How many goils you got in there
That's Charlie; he's a Yank. Come on, folks.
It's a great day out there! [Exits.]
[They leave one by one, and in
pairs. Each reacts to the light and sudden freedom. All are visibly moved, some
to tears. Muted comments are heard--]
My mother may be alive
somewhere . . . We're free--free! . . .my family . . . where can they be? . .
Sharon: Dolek, let us find Samuel.
Rabbi:[He has been watching their departure with
joy, yet with sadness at their words. He says quietly] May God aid you in your
search, my people. [As the last of them leave, he moves as if to go, then
stops.] Herr Wachter! Herr Wachter?
Wachter:[Enters] Imust have overslept.Where is everybody?
Rabbi: They have gone.
Wachter:Gone? What do you mean, gone?
Rabbi:We had a visitor, a soldier. He told us that
the Wehrmacht has fled, and that the war is over here . . . that the city is
safefor us now.
Yes, thank God. I did not
stop them from going, even if it is the Sabbath day, And Herr Wachter . . .
Rabbi:They are like children leaving a party. In
their excitement and joy, they forgot to
say thanks and goodbye.
Wachter: Oh, that's all right.
Rabbi: But they will not forget
you, ever.. I say thanks for them now--Albert.
Wachter: Albert? You never called me
Rabbi: Before you were our savior,
and were "Herr Wachter." Now you are a friend--an eternal friend--and
you are Albert to me.
Wachter: Thank you, my friend. But
there is no need for thanks. I could
do no other.
Rabbi: I know, Albert. There is a
tradition among my people, that in every generation there is a leavening of
righteous Gentiles who help the Jewish people. [The Rabbi takes him by the
shoulders.] You are one of those, Albert Wachter--a Righteous One of the
is visibly moved and cannot speak for a moment.
Wachter: [Finding his voice] When you
get your new temple, I'll come one day.
Rabbi: All are welcome, but you
will be most especially welcome. Goodbye, Albert my friend. Now I must go and
see who may yet be alive of my family. May the God of Abraham and Isaac be with
you, Righteous One. [He exits through the front door, pausing to react to the
light and freedom as did the others.]
Wachter: [Quietly] Goodbye, Rabbi.
God go with you.
[There is a moment of
silence. Mrs. Winkelmann enters.]
Wachter: Are you leaving too, Marie?
if you want me to stay, Herr Wachter.
Wachter:I want you to stay.
will stay, but only on one condition.
Wachter: Condition? Of course, any
condition. But what is this "condition."
condition is that I no longer have to act and talk like a typical German
Wachter: Did I ever ask you to do
Winkleman:You did--for my protection. And it worked.
Wachter: That's right. It did work. General
Strassel called you "a pure Aryan woman.”
can I be myself?
Wachter: Yourself? What do you mean?
Wachter: Of course, Marie. So much
for General Strassel’s nose for Jews.
[They laugh.] But do you know, now that they’ve gone, the house is so quiet.
I’m going to miss them.
yellow ball rolls onstage and stops at Wachter’s feet.It is followed shortly by Genia and Lusia.
Wachter: [Wachter kneels and holds
out his arms to Genia.] Genia! You came back! And Lusia!
Lusia:We never left, Herr
Wachter. Genia and I want to stay with
you until…until Jareth comes.
The End of
The End of the Play
on the Holocaust seldom if ever have happy endings. But why not? A great number
of Jews who suffered through the Holocaust have lived to carry on and have made
incalculable contributions to mankind and the lives of others.
And there will be no Interval Fifteen,
but rather a denouemont where we will
say farewell and thanks to our faithful readers. And perhaps—tell who we are
that have created this blog.