The Kowalewski house lies in the center of Warsaw, , one of those small apartments located in the overcrowded old part of the town which is the dwelling place of most of Warsaw’s Jewish population. The atmosphere in this part of the town is tense, heavy and nerve-racking as if something terrible had just happened or is bound to happen.. The apartment faces the statue of the great Kazimierz Pulaski, a Polish war hero who died fighting for his country’s independence, located in the Market Square. The statue symbolizes freedom, independence and safety.
At the beginning of the play the interior of the apartment is revealed. The living room is quite spacious, the decoration is typical of the time and region, with many colourful Jewish paintings on the walls which contrasts with the excess darkness of the place. In the middle of the room, there’s a photograph of Dawid’s father, a very elegant man with a delightful smile wearing a military uniform, illuminated by rays of light. Dawid enters wearing a German soldier’s uniform. He addresses the audience.Dawid : To begin with I turn back time. I reverse it to the late 30’s, a period of great difficulties in many European countries, specially in Poland where people lived in a constant fear of a possible German attack at any second.
This scene is a memory, therefore some aspects are more realistic than others. I am the narrator of the play and also a character in it. The other characters are my mother, Anastazia and my sister Cecylia. My father is not present in this memory since he died in 1915, middle of World War 1 on the front line after receiving a telegram that my mother had given birth., His cry of joy gave away his position and he was shot by a German sniper.Image: “Dawid’s father wearing a military uniform during World War 1” In my opinion, the rest of the play will explain itself. Anastazia’s voice is heard in the dining room just as she enters through the front door back from work. Cecylia and Dawid enter the dining room and they all sit round a table where dinner is ready .
They all start having dinner which is indicated by gestures. Anastazia (to her sons): You’ve listened to the radio recently? The Germans are planning to attack us in the following weeks. I honestly don’t know what they’ll gain from this attack. Dawid (confident): Oh mother don’t worry, that won’t happen. I was discussing this with Adam the other day, the fellow who has a store next to ours. The Germans know that if they decide to attack Poland, they’ll start a Second World War and they don’t want that to happen do they?,Plus we should be safe as ever, since we’ll have England’s support if that indeed happens.Cecylia: I wouldn’t be so sure of that brother. You know that Hitler is a men with a mission and he has already proven that he is determined to follow through with this mission of his.
(Pauses) He wants to, you know, get rid of the Jews, so we’ll need to be careful since we don’t want anything bad to happen. Only if dad were here, he would be able to protect us and guide us if indeed something happens. Cecylia stares at the photograph of their father and continues eating. Dawid (Positive): Don’t worry sister I’ll protect you when needed. I can promise you that. After all it’s my duty to make sure you and mother are safe all the time.
Dawid stands up and takes the plates to the kitchen. At that same time a huge explosion is heard outside. People are screaming on Warsaw’s streets. There is the sound of many people marching up the stairs of the building. Music: Third Reich military music Anastazia (desperately): Quick, hide! (She makes a gesture towards the cupboard near the dining table.) At that same time four German soldiers enter the apartment.
Dawid is able to hide whilst Anastazia and Cecylia are taken away. He is tempted to go after them but remains hidden as if someone had told him to do that. Dawid is left alone, static, in desperation, not knowing what to do. He looks outside the window, rain pouring out of the grey sky and sees his mother and family being dragged by two German soldiers.
The statue of Kazimierz Pulaski lies on the ground.