Perdition (play)

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Perdition is a 1987 stage play by Jim Allen.

It deals with a libel action in Israel a few years after the Second World War, which looks into alleged collaboration during the War between the leadership of the Zionist movement in Hungary and the Nazis.

Its starting point of research comes from the trial of Rudolf Kastner, a leading member of the Budapest Aid and rescue committee whose job it was to help Jews escape from the clutches of the Nazi’s in Hungary. His libel trial in Israel centred round an accusation that he had collaborated with Adolf Eichmann – one of the main SS officers in charge of carrying out the Holocaust. Though the initial trial found that he had indeed "sold his soul to the devil" by saving certain Jews whilst failing to warn others that their "resettlement" was in fact deportation to the gas chambers, there was a subsequent Israeli supreme court trial a few years later at which the findings were overturned. The question that the play asks through the device of another libel trial (that of the fictional Dr Yaron and set some 10 years later in London), is whether the saving of certain Jews was an act of collaboration in line with the Zionist philosophies about populating Israel at the expense of those Jews who remained. It became controversial when its first production, directed by Ken Loach for the Royal Court Theatre in London, was cancelled in January 1987 only thirty-six hours before the first performance.[1]

Over a decade later, the actor Tam Dean Burn was involved in organising readings. It was performed at the Gate Theatre in London in 1999.

Perfidy, by Ben Hecht, also covered the Kastner trial, from which the title of the play was drawn.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Hayward, Anthony (2004). Which Side Are You On?. Bloomsbury. [page needed]