The Trials of John Demjanjuk
A Holocaust - Cabaret

Our next show:
"Theater Confrontation" festival
12th of October
Lublin, Poland

What is cabaret? "A form of theatrical entertainment featuring music, song, dance, recitation, or drama." - Wikipedia.

What is the Holocaust? This is "the mass extermination of Jews by the Nazis during World War II, almost 6 million people" - Wikipedia.

What is the Holocaust Cabaret? This is the genre of the play "The Trials of John Demjanjuk," which received the highest rating from the jury of the St. Petersburg Theater Award "Breakthrough-2018" in the nominations "Best Director" - Ilya Moshchitsky and "Best Actors" - Andrey Kondratyev and Philipp Mogilnitsky.

And all together - is a furious, uncomfortable, scandalous performance, breaking through to the marrow of bones. The tragicomic absurdity thirty-year trial of the Nazi camp Sobibor guard.

The play is based on the real-life trial of John Demjanjuk, a US citizen of Ukrainian origin. In 1942, then a Soviet soldier named Ivan Demjanjuk, he was captured by the Germans, and after the end of the war he immigrated to America as a "victim of the fascist regime." In the late 1970s, Demjanjuk was charged with collaborating with the Nazis. Allegedly, he was none other than "Ivan the Terrible", one of the most brutal guards of the Treblinka concentration camp, and in 1988 the Israeli Supreme Court sentenced him to death. However, documents found in the KGB archives refuted this claim. Nevertheless, the Israeli investigation revealed that after being taken prisoner, the convict did in fact undergo a Nazi-supervised training in Trawniki and was subsequently involved in the management of the death camps of Sobibór and Majdanek as well as of the labour camp in Flossenbürg. In 2011, by decision of the Munich state court, the 89-year-old Ivan Demjanjuk was found guilty of aiding in the murder of 28,060 prisoners in the Nazi death camp in Sobibór, and was sentenced to five years in prison. However, due to his advanced age he was released before the appeal was submitted. He did not live to experience due incarceration, as he died in a nursing home at the age of 91. The Demjanjuk trial was one of the most notorious in a series of similar trials, and it went down in history as the last one involving crimes committed during the Second World War.

The production does not address the question of Demjanjuk's guilt. Instead, it exposes the theatrical nature of the nearly 40-year trial itself. The performance is carried out in the spirit of the Brechtian "epic theatre", and as such it a sarcastic show on the verge of absurdity, a "tragic circus", as foreign critics have precisely defined the genre.

"He became a symbol – a symbol of trying to find those responsible for the nightmares of World War II. (…) There is a feeling that the trial is no longer about him, but about Germany's desire to legally reconcile with its past."

Jonathan Garfinkel, playwright

The play was successfully staged in the USA and in Germany; its Russian premiere took place on 25 April 2017 on the stage of the Errata Museum of Contemporary Art.

In 2018, the performance won Best Director and Best Actor at the Proryv (Breakthrough) Theatre Awards in St. Petersburg.

- The performance was included in the programme of the 20th NET – New European Theatre Festival in Moscow, Russia. December 2018
- Arkhangelsk International Theatre Festival - April 2019
- "Black and White" - International Theatre Festival in Imatra - June 2019

Playwright, an award-wininig poet, prose writer
Ilya Moshchitskiy
Director, "Breakthrough" Theatre Award - 2018
The Holocaust Cabaret - is a powerful tool that can, through humor, ignoring taboos, knock directly on the viewer's ethics. Talking with him about the paradoxes of today, talking about tragedies and catastrophes without hiding behind masks of good taste, templates of secular cliches and theatrical pathos. For me, first of all, this is an anti-militaristic, humanistic statement. This is a performance that, while dancing, asks tough, uncomfortable questions.
Ilya Moshchitsky
Director (St. Petersburg)
Dmitriy Saratskiy
Composer (Ukraine, Kiev)
Iosif Koshelevich
Actor (Aleksandrinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg)
Philipp Mogilnitskiy
"The Trials of John Demjanjuk. A Holocaust-Cabaret" is very important performance for all of us, it is nteresting and intelligent. A responsable event each time. It is my theater bridge, between Warsaw and St. Petersburg.
"Artists are not responsible for uncomfortable questions, that might occur during or after the show" ©
Andrey Kondratyev

Sharp, grotesque form of narration of the play, chosen by the director, whenever I go on stage, is at the same time an obstacle for me, and to some extent helps me immerse myself in the difficult circumstances of the play. Not the easiest performance for me, but definitely important. Raising the theme of humanity, he pushes the viewers and actors face to face, posing questions before them that neither the first nor the second can find the answer to.
Alisher Umarov
Anastasia Kipina
Actress(Theater Estrady im. Arkadiya Raykina, St. Petersburg)

Anastasia Balueva
Actress (Novy Imoeratosrskij Theater, St. Petersburg)
Taking part in "The Trials of John Demyanjuk. A Holocaust Cabaret" for me is a great self-test, both professional and humanistic. This is an emotional and physical work, which is not in vain, which is necessary for both the actor and the viewer.
Jaroslav Obrazcov
Musician - Piano
Anna Zavorina
Musician - Bass
Aleksandr Shcherbakov
Musician - Trumpet
Stepan Vasilyev
Musician - Drums
Next show
12 October
Centrum Kultury w Lublinie
Peowiaków 12, 20-007 Lublin
For cooperation and other questions
please contact us
Director - Ilia Moshchitski
Manager - Philipp Mogilnitskiy
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