The Hunger Plan Conference
The Hunger Plan Conference – Europe's New Order And The War Of Extermination – A Documentary Theater Project by the Historikerlabor
Several weeks before the German invasion of the Soviet Union, a group of military officers and undersecretaries from various ministries met for a discussion – producing a protocol on the planned deaths of “tens of millions of people”. Millions of people would starve to death “if we take what we need out of the country”.
The discussion of May 2, 1941 is generally known as the Hunger Plan Conference, comparable to the Wannsee Conference, where the death of all Europe’s Jews was planned nine months later. The Historikerlabor launched its work with a documentary theater project on the Wannsee Conference. This was the first part of a trilogy at the intersection between scholarship and art, entitled: “The Invention and Extermination of the Untermensch: Nazi Germany’s Organized Murder of Jews, Slavs, Sinti and Roma.”
On May 2, 1941 the German ministerial bureaucracy outlined a new economic order for Europe: Russian industry would be annihilated, with Russia’s natural resources and agricultural products falling to the Wehrmacht and the German Reich.
Thus the politically- and racially-motivated war against the Soviet Union was also a war of conquest and plunder in keeping with Nazi Lebensraum ideology, aiming to shape Europe all the way to the Urals as a self-supporting Grossraum, an economic zone under German leadership.
The Historikerlabor focuses once again on the middle ranks of leadership, where undersecretaries made vague visions into concrete policies. As before, each historian will explore one historical figure, finally taking the stage themselves as historian-performers. In a two-month work and rehearsal process, a script will coalesce from original sources and commentaries, ultimately staged in a manner that turns a scholarly experiment into documentary theater.
There is an additional focus on the victims of this policy of hunger. The script will include testimonials from Soviet POWs and from blokadniki, those who experienced the Siege of Leningrad. Survivors will come to Berlin from present-day St. Petersburg, from Minsk and from Kiev, to become part of this documentary theater project.
"The Hunger Plan Conference – Europe’s New Order and the War of Extermination" will premiere on May 2, 2014 in the Hall of the Capitulation at the German-Russian Museum. This is the historic site where the Second World War ended in Europe; here, in the night of May 8, 1945, Germany’s unconditional surrender was signed.
Yet this historic location in Berlin-Karlshorst stands not only for the war’s end, but also for its beginning, its preparation. This is where construction began on the German Wehrmacht’s Pioneer School 1 in early 1936, as the German leadership planned to win the First World War after all by starting a second one.
Historians/performers: Ingrid Damerow, Dr. Tina Heidborn, Lore Kleiber, Ingo Löppenberg, Olaf Löschke, Dr. Ralf Meindl, Tillman Müller-Kuckelberg, Stefan Paul-Jacobs, Hannes Riemann, Eike Stegen, Frank Zwintscher; Dr. Jens Peters.
Cultural education: Tobias von Borcke, Andreas Mischok; Film recording: Adrian Keindorf; Dramaturgy: Dr. Kalliniki Fili; Project manager and director: Christian Tietz
With the kind support of the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst, Heinz and Heide Dürr Foundation, Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future”, Berliner Projektfonds Kulturelle Bildung, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
Fri., May 2, 2014, 11 a.m., German-Russian Museum / Hall of the Capitulation