ALBUM KARLA HÖCKERA is a documentary theatre project exploring the recently discovered (2006) album of photographs of the Auschwitz concentration camp that belonged to an SS officer named Karl Höcker. The photos in the album depict the daily life, formal functions, and leisure time of the senior SS officers and staff of the camp. The piece is directed by Paul Bargetto with texts by Malgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk performed by Marta Król, Grzegorz Sierzputowski, Tomasz Sobczak, Krzysiek Polkowski, and Helena Chorzelska with production design by Agnieszka Kaczynska. It was developed at the Sopot Non-Fiction Festival in 2014 followed by an intensive research and rehearsal process as part of Centrum Kultury Bemowo‘s residency program with the generous financial support of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. It premiered at the Instytut Teatralny in January 2015 and was produced by Agata Balcerzak. It has since been presented at the 2015 Malta Festival in Poznan, the 2015 Sopot Non-Fiction Festival, the 2015 Interpretations Festival in Katowice, The 2016 Tianjin Caoyu Festival in Tianjin and Harbin, China, and the 2016 Chantiers D’ Europe Festival in Paris, France.
Review by Anna Grahm Un Fautenil Pour Orchestra (in French)
Photos by Honorata Karapuda
Album Karl Hocker is an attempt to understand the historical catastrophe of Auschwitz from the largely unexamined perspective of the perpetrators. Using documentary theatre techniques, improvisation, research and scripted drama, the piece explores the all-too-human men and women who carried out the final solution. By reanimating the photographs, the audience is invited to bear witness to the ordinary daily lives of the workers, managers, and executives who ran the Auschwitz death factory. The piece challenges traditional narratives and assumptions about the executioners of the Holocaust, unmasking the monsters of popular imagination, to reveal the ordinary and familiar face of human tragedy.