Students Bring History to Life

A group of history students from the University of Bremen is staging a fourth dramatic reading in cooperation with the bremer shakespeare company (bsc). On Monday 19th September 2011 the “curtain will go up” on the premiere performance of “What do Women Know about Politics? – The Denazification of `quite normal` Women in Bremen (1945-1952)”. It will be staged on an original location: the Schwurgerichtsaal of the Bremen district court.

During the Third Reich women were involved in many different ways: as secretaries for the Gestapo, as guards in the concentration camps, or as the so-called “kapos”, working for the camp administration and supervising their fellow prisoners. Margarete Ries was one of them, a particularly brutal “kapo”, with a number of prisoners on her conscience. Nevertheless, following intensive interrogation and trial by a denazification tribunal the case against her was abandoned.

The life courses of women reflect everyday life under National Socialism

“The different life courses of these women reveal a lot about ‘quite normal’ life under National Socialism and how it functioned under the machinery of power”, says project leader, Dr. Eva Schöck-Quinteros. The denazification trials constitute an important source for gaining insights into life during the Third Reich. How did the women concerned explain and justify their actions, and how was their behavior evaluated? What gender-specific attributions played a role during the trials?

In preparation for the dramatic readings, the students spent several months delving through archives and selecting cases. They transcribed the files and compiled the material for the bsc rendering. They also developed the project website and wrote articles for the volume accompanying the dramatic reading.
The project, one of its kind in Germany, combines research-based learning with dramaturgical work. The aim is to bring the files alive on the stage and in this way to expose a broad public to source-based research.

More information on the premiere and subsequent performances under:

Geschichtsstudierende recherchieren in historischen Akten als Vorbereitung der szenischen Lesung
Für die szenische Lesung recherchierten Geschichtsstudierende in historischen Akten.