Fear and Misery in the Third Reich


Writers: Bertolt Brecht


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Written while the author was in exile in Denmark, the play presents a sequence of twenty-four realistic sketches showing how ordinary life under the Nazis was subtly permeated by suspicion and anxiety. The scenes, not directly by story but knit together by theme, play like frames in a film running through those years, capturing a panorama of social breakdown, deception, betrayal, disaffection, disaffiliation and flight. For example, in Berlin in 1933, a storm trooper eggs on a worker to make jokes about the regime and shows him the trick of marking a suspect with a chalk cross on the back of his jacket, unawares. The next year in Augsburg, a magistrate in chambers nervously hears pleas, advice and veiled threats from a prosecutor, an investigator and storm troopers, wondering how he can render a verdict. Fear and Misery in the Third Reich shows how thought and action can become paralyzed in a fascist state and it urges the audience to resistance and action.

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