Death in the Black Forest: how a historical tragedy became a play for today

In 1936, 5 English schoolboys on a hike died on the whim of a foolhardy trainer – and become fodder for Nazi propaganda. Now the tale of populist idiocy is being retold for our occasions

The day after the Brexit referendum the playwright Pamela Carter wrote to her German publishers, Suhrkamp, to apologise. “I felt the wish to express regret to a Ecu for the horrible mistake,” she mentioned.

Two weeks later in a Dundee lodge, nonetheless steeped in bewilderment, she got here throughout a Dad or mum Lengthy Learn I’d written, recalling the occasions of April 1936, when a bunch of London schoolboys had set out from their formative years hostel in Freiburg, southern Germany, for a hike within the Black Woodland. They have been led via their charismatic trainer, who not noted a lot of warnings and made a sequence of deadly selections that ended in 5 of them dropping their lives.

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