Art Spiegelman pulled it off in his masterly comic strip, Maus. And now we have Hotel Modern from Rotterdam, an artist and two theatre-makers. They too have managed to present the most difficult theme imaginable, the holocaust, in a way that is both sincere and impressive and in a genre which at first sight appears wholly unsuitable, theatre.
In KAMP (2005) Hotel Modern imagines situations and events in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Not by acting them out but by showing them. A huge model of Auschwitz fills the stage. Overcrowded barracks, a railway line and a gate with the words Arbeit macht frei. Hotel Modern tries to imagine the unimaginable: the greatest genocide in history carried out in a town specially built for the purpose. On stage the miniature version of the camp is brought to life: thousands of dolls just 8 cm high depict the prisoners and their executioners. The actors walk around the model like giant war correspondents and, armed with miniature cameras, film the terrible events and make the audience witnesses to them.
For both young and old, and especially those who themselves were interred in a concentration camp, KAMP is an impressive performance.
created and performed by Herman Helle, Pauline Kalker, Arlène Hoornweg