Sunday, April 23, 2006
"iWitness" is a very gripping play currently running at the Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles. I saw it tonight.
It tells the true story of Franz Jagerstatter who was executed for his refusal to serve in Hitler's army. Born in Austria, Jagerstatter was the only person in his village to vote against the unifying of Austria with Nazi Germany after Hitler's troops moved into their country.
In 1939 he was drafted into the military and, after many delays, was called into active duty in February, 1943. His refusal to fight for the Nazis landed him in prison and ultimately he was beheaded.
Not exactly a musical comedy.
The play explores making the ultimate sacrifice for what you know is right as well as how average Germans looked the other way while the evidence of the Nazi's killing machine was all around them. The haunting sound of trains is heard throughout the show.
It was particularly poignant to see this play tonight since a good friend of mine -- a Holocaust Survivor -- left on a trip to Europe on Thursday with plans to visit some former sites of Nazi concentration camps.