The Investigation By Maggie Sparknotes

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The Investigation is a dramatic documentary of the Frankfurt War Crimes trials during the 1960s based on actual evidence from the trial. Weiss strips the trial down to its most essential features and converts it into a powerful play. It consists of extracted testimonies from numerous witnesses and defendants, including moments of examinations and cross-examinations conducted by the prosecutors and defense counsel. The nine unnamed witnesses represent the millions of individuals affected by the Holocaust. They were brought forth to testify to the barbarity of Auschwitz. On the other hand, the 18 defendants were all named and granted permission to defend themselves without fictionalization. While the testimonies of the witnesses felt like an elegy about the horrors they endured, the distasteful rationalizations, disparities, and denials of the defendants created alternative versions of history. Weiss strategically placed the statements of the witnesses, perpetrators, and the judge next to each …show more content…

It is important to note the frequency of the italicized line, "the Defendants laugh" throughout the play. This shows their lack of sympathy towards these survivors. Their actions contradict their claims of innocence and lack of knowledge about the events that occurred within the camp grounds. For example, when defendant 9, a physician who gave deadly injections to prisoners, argued against witness 8's claim that he killed 16,000 prisoners, he made a joke out of the accusation: "That's too much...there were only 16,000 in the entire camp. No one would have been left but the military band" (Weiss 146). This insensitive joke caused the other defendants to laugh. They don't appear to be taking this trial seriously, almost as if they weren't worried about how they were charged with "4,243 counts of murder and 28,910 counts of accessory to murder"

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