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March 29, 2019 @ 20:00
Our Class is based on Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland, by Jan Tomasz Gross, which describes the massacre, on July 10, 1941, of nearly all the Jews, a majority of the inhabitants of Jedwabne, a small town.
Poles in Jedwabne, and in some other villages in the area—not Germans—had killed their Jewish neighbors, which came as great shock, causing much soul-searching in some Poles and much denial in others.
Our Class is not, however, a straightforward adaptation of Neighbors for the stage. Słobodzianek’s play is a work of fiction which draws on several other sources.
The play combines and conflates real-life characters and incidents from Jedwabne and Radziłów, a neighboring village that experienced a similar massacre a few days before the Jedwabne pogrom. It tries to explore not only the event of the slaughter and the motivations of the perpetrators, but also the aftermath: the suppression of the memory of what transpired on that day, a horrible recollection that refuses to go away and lingers in the town, poisoning the lives both of the perpetrators and the survivors.