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“In a moral sense I am guilty, of course...but in legal sense...”
Jari Juutinen’s play I Am Adolf Eichmann raises the question on guilt and innocence. Adolf Eichmann was one of the best-known leaders of Nazi Germany, although his role has been disputed. Eichmann himself claimed to have only done his job and followed orders. The burden of guilt, however, cannot be escaped. The play depicts a multidimensional view of the problematic relationship between guilt and innocence. When Eichmann’s trial becomes a cabaret-like television production, a question arises: does guilt even matter?
I Am Adolf Eichmann is a continuously relevant play. It poses the question: are we in the position to judge anyone? Our notions of Nazis as monsters makes us deem holocaust as an act committed by monsters. But what if it was an act committed by people? By people like us, our fathers and mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers, our friends and loved ones. Would you have interfered or been able to interfere? In the end, who is innocent and can cast the first stone?
Roles: Women 1, men 10
Scene 12: The Sentence
You are not saying anything.
What am I supposed to say...of course I knew what was happening there...but it wasn't in my hands... I was a tool used by powers stronger than me...
We've heard that a thousand times. You organized the transportation schedule.
As I was ordered, Herr State Prosecutor, as I was ordered. Up to Wansee I had somehow hoped that this mindless killing…that it would be temporary and that one fine day we would go back to normal…
Go back to normal?
To evacuations...emigration...even if it was a forced one…But after Wansee there were no doubts about it anymore…The mighty men of Germany had spoken…I thought, now I finally know how Pontius Pilate must have felt…when the only thing left to do is to wash your hands. I could neither stop nor speed up the whole thing.
Why exactly were you chosen to organize the transportation?
You would have to ask that from someone else, but...first of all my whole department was practically unemployed after the emigration was banned…It was one of those cursed chances that my life has been full of, as they say, I was pretty good behind a desk…organized…thorough…I carried out orders and commands to a T.
You weren't using your own brains?
EICHMANN SHRUGS HIS SHOULDERS
I don't know how you define it...Apparently I didn’t in the way Herr State Prosecutor implies…I was doing my job.
English translation of the play by Ona Nurkkala.
Nordic Drama Corner Ltd