THE MAN IN THE ATTIC

by Timothy Daly
Photo by Dick Reichman. From the April 2009 Anchorage Alaska production

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THE MAN IN THE ATTIC

by Timothy Daly

Based on a true story. It’s early May, 1945, near the end of World War II.

A man (Daniel Blickman) is found in the woods outside a remote town in northern Germany. The woman (Anna Moller) who finds him takes him back to her house, where she and her husband (Hermann) discover that he is a Jew. He is half-starved, and barely conscious, but fearing discovery by the Nazi authorities, they hide him in the attic—after stealing his money.

When he recovers, Daniel is grateful for being sheltered from a certain death. But it’s clear that he is expected to fulfil certain obligations—that is, to ‘pay his way’. Having no money, but being a jeweller and watch-maker, he is set to work in his new attic-home, repairing all the clocks, watches and other mechanical devices so common at that time in Europe.

The situation works profitably for both parties: Daniel is safe from certain death in the gas chambers (still running at that time); and Hermann gets a reliable source of barterable goods, vital at that time in such a ruined economy as Nazi Germany’s was toward the end of the Second World War.

The situation changes radically, however, when Hitler suicides and the Nazis surrender. With the imminent arrival of the nearby American army, the couple debate what to do. Under the influence of a greedy neighbour, Frau Giesling (who has all-but blackmailed them into sharing the gains from the hard-working Jew in the attic) the couple make an incredible (and historically-true) decision: they will not tell the Jew in the attic that the War is over.

This play is the telling of that amazing true story.

The Man in the Attic had its first US production at Out North Theater Company, Anchorage, Alaska, in April 2009. In May 2010, it toured in France, opening at Theatre la Comedie de l'Est, Theatre CDR de Colmar, Theatre l'Avant-Seinde de Colombes, Theatre l'Espace Prevert d'Aulnay-sous Bois and Theatre l'Ouest-Paris de Boulogne-Bilancourt.

This title appears in:

Patrick White Playwrights Award (2008 winner)

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