‘The Mitzvah Project’

One-act play at SMU Sept. 15 focuses on hidden tragedy of Jewish soldiers who fought for Hitler during WWII.

DALLAS (SMU) – “The Mitzvah Project” – a one-person, one-act play about a German half-Jew who became a decorated officer for the Third Reich during World War II – will be performed Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7:15 p.m. in SMU’s Collins Executive Education Center, 3150 Binkley Ave.

Roger Grunwald
Roger Grunwald

Sponsored by the Embrey Human Rights Program, the free public event will be followed by a lecture and Q&A session.

Performance artist Roger Grunwald partnered with Broadway actor Annie McGreevey to co-write the drama, which focuses on the history and fate of tens of thousands of German “Mischlinge,” – the Nazis’ derogatory term for people with one or two Jewish grandparents. The show centers on the tragic story of one such “Mischling,” who became an officer in the German army.

In the play, Grunwald brings to life three characters: Christoph, the “Mischling” soldier; Schmuel, a Polish Jew from Bialystok; and The Chorus, a Groucho Marx-esque comedian/philosopher who provides edgy commentary.

Grunwald says he was inspired to co-create the project as a tribute to his mother, who, as a survivor of Auschwitz, used her wartime experience as a tool for teaching young people the lessons of history, particularly related to the Holocaust.

For more details about “The Mitzvah Project,” which has been performed at more than 50 theaters, universities, synagogues, Holocaust museums and other venues throughout the U.S. and the United Kingdom, visit themitzvah.org.

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