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“Generals and Rabbis”

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Matz, Milton (American rabbi, psychologist, and playwright, June 30, 1927-____), “Generals and Rabbis,”

a 10-minute drama in English, set in business class of Flight #576, American Airlines, on route from New York to Chicago, Monday morning, July, 1999,


  •  © 2001 by Milton Matz;  •  script/rights available from Milton Matz, 3609 Park East, Beachwood, Ohio 44122, U.S.A., e-mail mxm68@po.cwru.edu, telephone (home) 216-752-5819, (work) 216-831-6776.  •  Cited by Milton Matz via ftp August 9, 2001; Matz says,

  §  Dramatis Personae Bernard (m), 62, an American Jewish anthropologist; Dieter (m), 55, a German sociologist.

  §  Synopsis “Bernard and Dieter share adjoining seats in the business section on a plane headed for Chicago. Dieter, seated by the window, arouses Bernard’s curiosity about his identity when he side-steps admitting his German identity. In their sparring conversation, they reveal to each other their German and Jewish identities and their deep feelings of guilt and grief. They learn that Dieter’s father may have ordered the murder of Bernard’s family. Both struggle with whether they can ever be friends.

  §  Comment “In short: two academicians discover they not only share a great bond but also a great division, in fact, a dreadful abyss. Bernard is an American anthropologist in his early sixties from New York. The Holocaust decimated his Jewish family. Dieter is a German sociologist in his middle fifties from the University of Heidelberg. A slight German accent marks his English speech. His father was the general in charge of the German armies that invaded the Ukraine during World War II.  •  The action occurs in one scene and requires only one set—the interior of the business class section of a 737 en route from New York to Chicago. Bernard and Dieter share adjoining seats, which face the audience. No other seats are visible. The cross section of the luggage compartment is visible over their heads.”

  §  Themes abyss, admission, airplane, bond, business section, curiosity, disclosure, division, enemy, evasion, family, father-son relationship, first encounter, friendship, genocide, German identity, grief, guilt, Holocaust, identity, inheritance, Jewish identity, German-Jewish reconciliation, military orders, murder, overcoming hatred, peacemaking, reconciliation, responsibility, scholarship, sharing, society.

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