I went to see a production of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui this week. It’s by Brecht; yes one of the biggies! The cast was brilliant especially Givola who was played by a certain Hannah Jane Kenna (my daughter; time for my bursting with pride scene!).
The play is a satirical allegory of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany, whose rise Brecht represents as that of Ui. All the characters have counterparts in real life, with Ui representing Hitler, Emanuele Giri representing Hermann Göring and Giuseppe Givola representing Joseph Goebbels. I hadn’t realised until I saw the play that my daughter was actually playing Goebbels!
Goebbels was Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany and one of Adolf Hitler’s closest associates and most devout followers. He rose to power in 1933 along with Hitler and the Nazi Party and one of his first acts was the burning of books. He exerted totalitarian control over the media, arts and information in Germany. Goebbels organized attacks on German Jews including a one-day boycott of Jewish businessmen, doctors and lawyers, and the Night of Broken Glass in which scores of synagogues were burned and hundreds of Jews were assaulted and murdered. He also produced a series of anti-Semitic films. He remained with Hitler in Berlin to the end. After Hitler’s suicide, Goebbels succeeded him as Chancellor. He along with his wife Magda killed their six young children, and then committed suicide. The couple’s bodies were burned in a shell crater, but owing to the lack of petrol, the burning was only partly effective.