Kurt Gerron. The Führer gives Jews a city

Opening night

The Main Stage
1 h 30 min.

Regular Tickets:
15–60 zł

Reduced FareTickets:
15–45 zł




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Jolanta Janiczak text, dramaturgy
Wiktor Rubin director
Łukasz Surowiec, Wiktor Rubin set design
Hanna Maciąg costumes
Krzysztof Kaliski music
Łukasz Surowiec video
Michał Głaszczka lighting design
Monika Winiarska director and set designer assistant

Dagmara Habryka-Białas stage manager
Anna Wesołowska prompter
Kamil Małecki cameraman
Krzysztof Woźniak screening design
Maria Machowska light design
Wojciech Gąsowski, Marcin Łyczkowski, Mirosław Witek sound
Filip Chrobak camerawork on the film set
Krzysztof Bąk sound at the film set
Małgorzata Długowska-Błach executive producer
Maciej Rokita technical director




Bartłomiej Błaszczyński Benjamin Murmelstein
Katarzyna Brzoska Olga Meyer Gerron
Natalia Jesionowska Zdenka R.
Anna Kadulska Alice H.S.
Agnieszka Kwietniewska Kurt Gerron
Michał Piotrowski Fredy H.
Aleksandra Przybył Handa V.
Marcin Szaforz Hans K.
Mateusz Znaniecki Karl Rahm


Krzysztof Kaliski live music
Kamil Małecki cameraman

and extras

Mateusz Banek
Krzysztof Ciemierz
Maciej Jabłoński
Mariusz Konieczny
Andrzej Kozak
Sebastian Krysiak
Arkadiusz Machel
Wojciech Pęksa
Wojciech Smolarczyk
Piotr Sobota
Piotr Stanusz
Jerzy Śpiewakowski
Robert Witkowski
Tomasz Wustrau
Sebastian Zastróżny



The spectacle by one of the most important Polish theatre duets: Wiktor Rubin (director) and Jolanta Janiczak (playwright) is a story about the Theresienstadt concentration camp, which was recognised by the delegation of the International Red Cross as an example of a model Jewish ghetto. Life in the city was subordinated to a false utopian vision, on the basis of which the Nazis commissioned the German cinema star, Kurt Gerron, to shoot a propaganda film presenting the camp as a health resort. The creators of the performance provide a narrative of Gerron’s film in a bittersweet tone to ask about the impact of images created despite everything, against common sense and moral principles. Images that carry a promise of saving human life.


The Führer gives Jews the land that they were promised centuries ago. A city no one will take away from them. Located in the picturesque Theresienstadt area with access to lakes and thermal waters. With a golf course, well-equipped library, cafes, universal access to work, football field and allotments. With a wall you will not want to jump. The Führer gives Jews 11 days of extended life, which is fiction. 11 shooting days, during which happiness will become their costume, set and prop. The Führer gives Jews images no one can erase them from. Someone, however, will enlarge these images one day and see in them what has been hidden for later. But what about those who will not fit in the frame?

“All characters have been based on people who were in Theresienstadt. This camp was called the model camp, that is one that should be shown to the world. Its inhabitants were mainly prominent, famous, wealthy, and titled people, artists from Prague: musicians, painters, writers, actors. That is why the Nazis allowed establishing cabarets, showing spectacles and operas there. They even allowed playing jazz, though they thought it was a degenerate music. For example, Alice is based on Alice Herz-Sommer, who survived the Holocaust with her son. She lived for one hundred and eight years - moving to another country and starting anew twice. Fredy is inspired by Fredy Hirsch, a Zionist youth club activist known at the time, a homosexual outsider who, in the Theresienstadt and Auschwitz camps, managed to win better treatment, a common room and an additional portion of food for the children by speaking fluently in several languages and always looking impeccable. He would convince the SS men at Auschwitz to various ideas and they treated his charges more gently. The cause of his death is not explained. Some say he committed suicide when he learned that his charges were to die in the chambers. The second version says that he was to be one of the leaders of the Auschwitz uprising and was poisoned by Jewish doctors under protection (if the uprising broke out, they would have been murdered like everyone else). Hans is inspired by Hans Krasa, a well-known musician and composer, who wrote “Brundibár” - the only opera for children staged to this day - in Theresienstadt. Zdenka and Handa are loosely based on the girls who wrote diaries and lived in room No. 28. Most of these characters took part in Kurt’s film. Only two of them survived,” emphasised the author of the text, Jolanta Janiczak, before the premiere.

The co-producer of the premiere is Katowice Miasto Ogrodów – Instytucja Kultury im. Krystyny Bochenek.

Polecane Studentom Sztuka Współczesna Prapremiera


Wiktor Rubin’s former declaration is fulfilled on the Mainstage of Teatr Śląski: “For me, showing how people cope with ambiguous situations is the most interesting challenge in the theatre. I am fed up with simplifications that attack us every day, forcing us to react immediately”. In fact, the title itself introduces anxiety and distance (the word “Führer” appearing on a poster hanging in the city centre in a seemingly positive context makes a shocking impression). The entire performance carries more non-obvious clues, but in no way does it declare itself on either side. The muted staging multiplies dilemmas, looks at morally and artistically ambiguous situations, triggers a rich area of associations, references, suggestions and cues, but refrains from final judgements.

Hubert Michalak, teatrologia.info


The spectacle makes us reflect on the importance of our presence in this tragic human experience. Hans Günther Adler, prisoner of Theresienstadt, a poet and writer, used the term: organised insanity. We are witnessing this process and it is probably the most poignant experience that each viewer gets, because memory, if it returns, it is because of others. When we watch the actors on the screen in the current interiors of the Theresienstadt concentration camp museum, trying to transfer stage characters there, we can see the bare surprise of the visitors to the former camp. Benjamin Murmelstein finishes the drinks left on the tables by tourists, other actors stand like living exhibits in prison rooms. They do not arouse emotions, only curiosity. Elie Wiesel wrote that the opposite of life was not death but indifference. Don’t we look at the faces of people captured in Gerron’s film in the same way? Or in theatre, at artists trying to depict their thoughts, dreams, concerns and fear on the stage. Actors of Teatr Śląski managed to portray them perfectly.

Wojciech Lipowski, “Śląsk” monthly