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Religion & Theology
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Alma and Fania. Religion & Theology Essay Research Paper (Essay Sample)


You will get a handout - a scene from the movie we watched. I want you to use it to write a Response Paper based on the film. 1.5 to 2 pages in length. You can choose to focus the paper on how you want to. More than summarize though. Consider the two characters in the scene and their approach to coping, surviving, and how they dealt with the reality of entertaining the German Nazis. Be creative. Toil with some good quotes from the handout. Papers are due in class on Tuesday.


SETTING: A concentration camp in Germany, the early 1940's.
alma is a German Jew and niece of the great composer Gustav Mahler, She has been assigned the duty of conducting an orchestra for the Germans while she is in a concentration camp. Fania is a Jewish woman in the orchestra in the concentration camp, too. As the scene opens, Alma is trying to get Fania to support her rigid demands for the orchestra. Alma feels if the orchestra does not play well, all of them will die.
ALMA: Talk to me, Fania.
(fania keeps silent, wary of expressing herself)
There must be strict discipline. As it is, Dr. Mengele can just bear to listen to us. If we fall below a certain level anything is possible . .. He's a violently changeable man.
(FANIA does not respond, only massages)
The truth is, if it weren't for my name they'd have burned them up long ago; my father was first violin with the Berlin Opera, his string quartet played all over the world ...
FANIA: I know, Madame.
ALMA: That I, a Rose, am conducting here is a ...
FANIA: I realize that, Madame.
ALMA: Why do you resent me? You are a professional, you know what discipline is required; a conductor must be respected. fania: But I think she can be loved, too.
ALMA: You cannot love what you do not respect. In Germany it is a perfectly traditional thing, when a musician is repeatedly wrong
FANIA: To slap?
ALMA: Yes, of course! Furtwängler did so frequently, and his orchestra idolized him.
(FANIA keeping her silence, simply nods very slightly)
I need your support, Fania. I see that they look up to you. You must back up my demands on them. We will have to constantly raise the level of our playing or I ... I really don't know how long they will tolerate us. Will you? Will you help me?


____that pieces of myself are falling away. And believe
me, I recognize that your strength is probably what our lives
depend on . . .
alma: Then why do you resent me?
fania: I don't know! I suppose . . . maybe it's simply that 0np wants to keep something in reserve; we can't ... we can't reallv and truly wish to please them. I realize how silly it is to say thatalma: But you must wish to please them, and with all your heart.
You are an artist, Fania — you can't purposely do less than your
fania: But when one looks out the window ... alma: That is why I have told you not to! You have me wrong, l<ania — you seem to think that I fail to see. But I refuse to see. Yes. And you must refuse! fania (Nearly an outcry): But what . . . (She fears it will sound accusatory) .. . what will be left of me, Madame!
ALMA: Why . . . yourself, the artist will be left. And this is not new, is it? — what did it ever matter, the opinions of your audience? — or whether you approved of their characters? You sang because it was in you to do! And more so now, when your life depends on it! Have you ever married?
FANIA: No, Madame.
ALMA: I was sure you hadn't — you married your art. I did marry . . . (ALMA breaks off. She moves, finds herself glancing out the window, but quickly turns away) . . . Twice. The first time to that. . . (She gestures ironically toward her violin case lying on her cot) The second time to a man, a violinist, who only wanted my father's name to open the doors for him. But it was my fault — I married him because I pitied myself; I had never had a lover, not even a close friend. There is more than a violin locked in that case, there is a life.
I couldn't to that, Madame, I need the friendship of a man.
ALMA (Slight pause): I understand that, Fania. (She is moved by an imvulse to open up) Once I very nearly loved a man. We met in Amsterdam. The three good months of my life. He warmed me like a coat. I think... I could have loved him.
22? 5 arrested me... as a Jew. It still astonishes me.




Alma and Fania
Author Name
Institution Affiliation
In Play for Time, Fania Fénelon tells the story of her terror and survival at Auschwitz. In 1943, she was arrested by the Nazis for aiding the French Resistance. Basically, Alma and Fania are two prominent female characters; they live in the concentration camp in Nazi Germany in the 1940s. Both are artists and perform orchestra regularly in order to entertain the soldiers but have a very different approach toward the situation they are in. Fania and Alma know that they can be killed anytime, but they continue coping with their day to day lives and have different mindsets and approach.
Alma is the niece of the great Jewish composer Gustav Mahler. She conducts an orchestra in the concentration camp in Germany and is quite opposite to the other characters of the story, especially Fania. Alma is a well versed and motivated lady, who has a positive approach to every single situation. She knows and believes that as an artist, her job is to ensure that people are entertained to the best of her talent. She understands that this has been and will be the key for Germans to spare her life. However, to keep her and others’ chances alive of staying alive, she will need to keep reinventing her

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