The Mitzvah Explores Little Known Part of Holocaust History

January 21, 2016

Roger Grunwald

The Catholic-Jewish Dialogue Committee and Temple Chayai Shalom have joined forces to bring to campus The Mitzvah (The Good Deed), a one-person play that dramatically explores one of the most shocking stories of the Second World War.  Now on a national tour, the acclaimed play tells how more than 100,000 German men with partial Jewish ancestry served in Hitler's army.

Dismissively called “mischlinge,” these German-half Jewish soldiers found themselves in a very conflicted, tragic situation and their story is a little known part of Holocaust history.

The story of one such mischling is at the center of The Mitzvah and actor (and child of survivor) Roger Grunwald seamlessly transforms himself into an array of characters to tell that story. An actor and writer, Grunwald also wrote the script.

In addition to Christoph (the “mischling”), other characters in the play include Schmuel, a Polish Jew from Bialystok and the play’s Chorus, who offers edgy commentary that probes the boundary between the absurd and the horrific. After the play, Grunwald will discuss the history of German-Jewish assimilation that produced these soldiers.

Free and open to the public the play will be performed on Tuesday, January 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the Hemingway Theatre.