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The following essay takes a critical view of the widely-known
children's opera Brundibar, which was performed by the Jewish children
of Theresienstadt and has since become a centrepiece of Holocaust remembrance.
It is shown that the opera's plot, normally seen as an exemplary case
in Resistance, actually centres around the pursuit of a stigmatized outsider,
a character who also happens to carry within him many "Jewish"
The essay's background may also be of interest to readers outside Germany. The author, a secondary school teacher in the German city of Hanover, was first confronted with the problematical nature of the opera when the 6th-grade students of his school presented a serves of Brundibar performances in Hanover's famous Marktkirche (Market Church). All performances took place under the auspices of the State bishop and governor. The performance so disturbed the author that he was moved to write the firnt draft of the following essay, which he distributed to colleagues hoping to generate discussion of the opera's problematical qualities. Rather than discussion, the author was met wich constemation; he was obliged to leave the school, and was forbidden to return to finish the discussion, about the opera he had begun with his senior students.
The pages of "Brundibar 2002" (to access, please
click on the category in the column at the left) document the events leading
to the author's dismissal in February 2002 through the petitioning of
the Niedersaechsische Landtag (State Parliament) for infringement of Right
to Speech. The Landtag's ruling on the case is slated for May or June