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The Investigation

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The Investigation

The Investigation on stage (Marc Enguerand)

From 1963 to 1965 in Frankfurt , Germany , 22 Nazis were tried for war crimes committed in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Unlike Nuremberg , the defendants weren't military brass or high-powered political leaders. They were lower level officials who decided which prisoners were sent to the gas chambers and when.


Director Peter Weiss turned transcripts of the Frankfurt trials into a five-hour play called The Investigation. It was hailed as a landmark achievement and important artistic statement about the horrors of the Holocaust.


A half a century later, Rwanda-native Dorcy Rugamba condensed Weiss's play into 80 minutes and set it in the modern Rwandan context. Rugamba and the actors in his performance company were touched the 1994 genocide.


Rugamba's troupe is performing their adaptation of The Investigation at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater through Saturday. According to Rugamba, the tribunals currently underway in Rwanda parallel the Frankfurt trials. He told Worldview how he initially discovered the Peter Weiss play.


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