Soldiers (play)

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Written by Rolf Hochhuth
Place premiered 1968
Subject World War Two

Soldiers: An Obituary for Geneva (Soldaten. Nekrolog auf Genf) is a 1967 play about Winston Churchill,[1] controversial for alleging that he was involved in the death of the Polish Prime Minister, General Władysław Sikorski, in an airplane crash in 1943.

German writer Rolf Hochhuth wrote the play on occasion of the 100th anniversary of the First Geneva Convention, alleging that Churchill condoned the murder of Sikorski in order to appease Stalin, and also highlighting Churchill's support for the mass bombing of German cities in 1943.[1] The play was meant to premiere at Britain's National Theatre in 1967, but this was cancelled and the play was produced instead in the West End with John Colicos as Churchill.

Hochhuth, unaware that the plane's pilot Eduard Prchal was still alive, accused him of participating in the plot. Prchal won a libel case that seriously affected the London theater which staged the play.[2] Hochhuth never paid the 50,000 British pounds imposed on him by the court and subsequently avoided returning to the UK.[3] In 2011, he revealed his source for Churchill's involvement as Jane Ledig-Rowohlt, the British wife of his publisher Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt[4] (née Jane Scatcherd). According to Hochhuth's biographer Birgit Lahan, these rumors relayed by Jane Ledig-Rowohlt had been the sole source for the allegations in the play.[3]


  1. ^ a b Playbill from original New York production accessed 16 June 2013
  2. ^ "The End of the Pius Wars", Joseph Bottum, First Things Magazine, April 2004, retrieved 1 July 2009
  3. ^ a b Naumann, Michael (2016-07-23). "Rolf Hochhuth: Immobilien-Wessi". Die Zeit (in German). ISSN 0044-2070. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 
  4. ^ "Hochhuth benennt Zeugen für Mord an Sikorski" (in German). Märkische Oderzeitung / dpa. 2011-04-28. Retrieved 2016-07-24. 

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