by Arthur Meiselman
Play andf Screenplay
Currently Under Option
Jerusalem, 1948, just prior to the final partition of Palestine. Two old and intimate acquaintances are reunited: FRANZ HOEFFLER, a former Nazi SS officer and protege of Adolph Eichman, now an officer in the service of the Grand Mufti of
Jersualem; ZEV WEISS, a survivor of Auschwitz, now a British citizen and a member of the Jewish underground. Weiss has been captured and taken to a secluded room for interrogation. His interrogator, Hoeffler, is instructed to
"try" to extract information from Weiss with a minimum of brutality: he has two days before Weiss must be given up to the British authorities.
With the rebound of a nightmare, Weiss is shocked at the horror of once again being in the hands of the man who was his personal tormentor in the death camp. And Hoeffler harnesses that shock, twisting it deeply as he begins the
interrogation. His apparent objective is to force Weiss to reveal precious names and locations regarding the underground. But his agenda veers in a series of strange and unpredictable turns. After resistance met with painful threats, Weiss
is drawn into a dialogue that Hoeffler passionately wants to pursue: the artificial barrier between good and evil. To Hoeffler, evil is relative, simply dependent upon the coincidence of "who is holding the whip." To Weiss, evil
is the loss of faith in the inherent value of human life. Hoeffler compares his past activities with Weiss' current involvement in Jewish terrorism. He expounds on the "sensual beauty" of uncontrolled, unregulated hedonistic
power contained in the "Nazi" experience. Weiss resists him point by point.
But as this scathing repartee develops, Hoeffler unmasks his hidden and motivating objective: to break Weiss, something he was unable to do at the camp. He continuously introduces a mundane question, tipped with its own answer. Weiss
refuses to accept his "truth." Through manipulation and occasional pain, Hoeffler attempts to force his captive to surrender, to respond with the answer he wants to hear. As Weiss becomes exhausted and nearly broken at the end of
two days, time runs out. Hoeffler's interrogation is abruptly ended and Weiss is removed, but only after he confronts Hoeffler for one last moment to give him his "final" answer.