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'The Last Cyclist': A Banned Cabaret From The Terezín Ghetto Finally Reaches Audiences


The story of the Holocaust is well known at this point: Six million Jews and several million Gypsies, homosexuals, and others considered undesirable by the Nazi regime were murdered from the late 1930s to the mid-'40s. The horror of concentration camps such as Auschwitz is easy to see, if not comprehend. But while the mass exterminations were going on, another camp called Terezín inflicted a different kind of terror.

It was a so-called "model camp" that the Nazis used to show the Red Cross that they were treating prisoners well. It was also a camp in which musicians, artists, and theater people were held to stage shows for visiting officials. It was in that camp where a cabaret, called The Last Cyclist, was created by an artist named Karl Svenk in 1944.

More than a half-century later, playwright Naomi Patz found the script, which had never been performed, and adapted it for the modern theatre. She joined Lake Effect's Bonnie North by phone to explain more, along with the director of the Milwaukee premiere, Mark Boergers and dramaturg Dan Haumschild, who is a fellow at Milwaukee’s Holocaust Education Resource Center:

The Last Cyclist will be at Cardinal Stritch University's Nancy Kendall Mainstage Theater in the Joan Steele Stein Center for Communication Studies/Fine Arts building on the Cardinal Stritch University campus April 5-14.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.