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Schweik in the Second World War

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Schweyk in the Second World War (German: Schweyk im Zweiten Weltkrieg) is a play by German dramatist and poet Bertolt Brecht. It was written by Brecht in 1943[1] while in exile in California, and is a sequel to the 1923 novel The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek.



Schweyk in the Second World War is set in Nazi-occupied Prague and on the Russian Front during World War II. In a summary written for potential composer Kurt Weill, it was written: "The Good Soldier Schweyk, after surviving the First World War, is still alive. Our story shows his successful efforts to survive the Second as well. The new rulers have even more grandiose and all-embracing plans than the old, which makes it even harder for today's Little Man to remain more or less alive."[2] Hanns Eisler, ultimately, became Brecht's chief musical collaborator for the work.[3]



As Schweyk is forced into war, he manages to survive while overcoming dangerous situations in Gestapo Headquarters, a military prison, and a Voluntary Labor Service. The ending finds Schweyk lost in a snowstorm near Stalingrad. He meets an equally lost and bewildered Hitler, whose path is blocked by snow, frozen corpses, the Soviet Army, and the German people. Finally, Hitler does a grotesque dance and disappears into the snow.

TV production


Portuguese TV made an adaptation in 1975 IMDB link'

Stage production


Schweyk in the Second World War was not staged during the lifetime of its writer Brecht, though it has been staged innumerable times across the world in various languages, including Bengali,[4] since its 1957 premiere in Warsaw.[5]

The National Theatre in London staged a major revival directed by Richard Eyre with the same company of actors he had directed in his famous 1982 production of Guys and Dolls.[6][7]

Red Theater Chicago staged it in October 2012 starring Kevin Cox. It was directed by Aaron Sawyer with original music composed by Michael Evans.[8]

Forum Three Bangalore staged it for the first time in September 2014[9] in Bangalore and later at Auroville[10] for an international audience. Directed by Ranjon Ghoshal, the original music recreating the Eastern European melodies of the 1940s was composed by Sudipto Das, with Sihi Kahi Chandru playing Schweyk.[11][12]

See also



  1. ^ Squiers, Anthony (2014). An Introduction to the Social and Political Philosophy of Bertolt Brecht: Revolution and Aesthetics. Amsterdam: Rodopi. p. 189. ISBN 9789042038998.
  2. ^ Brecht, Bertold (2015). Brecht Collected Plays: 7: Visions of Simone Machard; Schweyk in the Second World War; Caucasian Chalk Circle; Duchess of Malfi. A&C Black. p. 480. ISBN 9781408162101.
  3. ^ "Hanns Eisler". pcmsconcerts.org. Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  4. ^ Banerjee, Arundhati (1990). "Brecht Adaptations in Modern Bengali Theatre: A Study in Reception". Asian Theatre Journal. 7 (1): 1–28. doi:10.2307/1124034. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  5. ^ Papaeti, Anna. "Humour and the Representation of Fascism in Schweyk im zweiten Weltkrieg: Adorno contra Brecht and Hanns Eisler". academia.edu. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  6. ^ "Schweyk in the Second World War". Theatricalia.com. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  7. ^ "Huge Team Help Stage Revival of Broadway's Guys and Dolls." The Bath Chronicle. April 21, 2011.
  8. ^ "Red Theater". Red Theater. Red Theater. Archived from the original on 19 December 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Forum Three". Forum Three. Retrieved 10 Oct 2014.
  10. ^ Zoya (November 30, 2014). "Schweyk in the Second World War". Schweyk in the Second World War. Auroville Radio. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  11. ^ Gupta, Namita (13 September 2014). "Keeping A "Brecht"". Deccan Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2014-09-13. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  12. ^ "War Time Tales". New Indian Express. 12 September 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-10-29. Retrieved 15 September 2014.


  • Calabro, Tony, Bertolt Brecht's Art of Dissemblance, Longwood Academic, 1990