New play to probe Nazi 'humanity'

By James Lewis and John Fisher, June 17, 2010

A controversial play about the Holocaust is set to open next week at Leeds Town Hall.

Playwright Jayson Bartlett, 49, who is not Jewish, spent five years researching and interviewing survivors in Eastern Europe for his play, The Interview, which has already been staged in Dewsbury, Yorkshire.

But he has taken an unusual approach. His heroine is an 85-year-old survivor whose life story is revealed in an interview with a reporter whose grandfather was a camp guard.

Mr Bartlett said he felt it was "unfair" only to think of the guards as inhumane.

He said: "People refer to the guards as 'animals' but they weren't, they were humans. Although the crimes committed were terrible, nobody today knows what they would do in that position."

Nevertheless, the playwright spoke of his shock and dismay at the attitudes he found in Eastern Europe.

"When I was in Warsaw in 2006, I was shocked by the amount of swastikas that I saw. It was one of the first times that I have felt in fear of my life.

"The Holocaust shows what happens when communities don't stand up for one another."

Last updated: 4:10pm, June 17 2010