Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Creative Writing


Drama and Communications

Major Professor

Phil Karnell

Second Advisor

Tony French

Third Advisor

David Hoover


"Arbeit Macht Frei," which is translated, "Work Will Make You Free," is a surreal drama that sporadically and without regard to traditional chronological order spans the years of 1931-1947 in Nazi Germany. It is many stories of humanity and its strengths and weaknesses, its triumphs and atrocities, melded into theatrical representation as men and women who are interred in a concentration camp unwillingly build the walls that hold them under Nazi oppression. It is also the specific stories of four individual characters. Heinrich is the camp commander whose work is to construct and run the camp. Herta is the German doctor who is charged with furthering the false science of "eugenics" by experimenting on both her Jewish victim, Rachel, and the commander's wife, Klara. Rachel and Klara are characters who lead parallel lives with the exception of their perceived racial impurity or purity as seen by the culture which surrounds them. Although "Arbeit" looks closely at the stereotypical roles of Nazi commander and doctor of macabre experimentation and successfully attempts to subvert these stereotypes, it is essentially the story of the Jewish and German women and their similarities under oppression, degredation and horror that is worth of minute analysis and representation in the modern theater.


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