Files Come to Life in the "Haus des Reichs"

The de-nazification of women in Germany – this is the topic currently engaging the attention of history students and the bremer shakespeare company. Public response to the readings held in rooms of the Bremen District Court was so great that all the performances were completely sold out. Next month they will be staging a reading featuring a similarly spectacular case from Nazi times at yet another awesome original venue: in the “Haus des Reichs” in Bremen. This time it is the story of Margarete Ries. She is supposed to have worked as a so-called Kapo for the SS in the Auschwitz concentration camp, where she is said to have been particularly brutal and responsible for the deaths of many prisoners. However, following intensive interrogation by representatives of the US military government of Bremen in the Haus des Reichs and a subsequent tribunal, her case was eventually closed. She was arrested after being recognized at Bremen main station by a former prisoner of the concentration camp. How did Margarete Ries excuse her behavior? How did witnesses for the prosecution and the defense react to her testimony? And why did the prosecution drop the proceedings against her? These and other questions are the focus of the readings being performed by Bremen students and actors of the bremer shakespeare company.

The premier is on Tuesday 27th March 2012 in the Haus des Reichs on Rudolf-Hilferding-Platz. That was also the address of the former US military government of Bremen. Today, it houses offices of the Senator of Finance. There will be additional performances on 17th, 18th, and 24th April. The curtain rises at 7.30 p.m. Tickets are available either from the bremer shakespeare company or on the evening at a price of 12 euros (reduced 6 euros). Contact under

Fourth production since start of the project in 2007

This new reading performance on the de-nazification of women in Germany is the fourth production on this historical theme. It is being realized under the direction of Dr. Eva Schöck-Quinteros, project leader and lecturer of the University of Bremen, together with history students and the bremer shakespeare company. Under the motto “Out of the files onto the stage”, they have been working on these staged readings based on historical original documents since 2007. The project, unique in Germany, is a combination of research-based learning and dramaturgical performance. The aim is to bring historical files to life on the stage, and in this way to disseminate source-based research to the public at large. Currently, the students are already also working on a fifth project that deals with the town of Bremen during the First World War. This is to be staged next winter semester. So far, the project series “Out of the files onto the stage” has produced six companion volumes on the staged readings.

More information can be obtained under

Further information:

Universität Bremen
Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft
Dr. Eva Schöck-Quinteros
Phone: +49 421 218-67251
e-mail: esqprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Januar 1948: Margarete Ries im Internierungslager. Quelle: Staatsarchiv Bremen.