In accordance with the original intention of the author, who wanted to create a modern “Divine Comedy”, the composition of the play, which used the materials of the Frankfurt process over the Nazi criminals of 1963-1965. repeats the structure of the first and second parts of the epic Dante: in each “song” – three episodes, and all of them – thirty-three, as in Dante. Eighteen defendants present in the play the original persons who appeared before the court in 1963 and appear under their real names, and nine unnamed witnesses (two of them on the side of the camp administration and the rest – former prisoners) sum up the experience and experience of hundreds of people.
The 1st witness, who served as the head of the station on which the echelons with people arrived, claims that he knew nothing about the mass extermination of people and did not think about what fate awaits the prisoners who were doomed to slave labor, which brought huge profits to the branches of the enterprises of Krupp, Siemens and “IG Farben”. The 2 nd witness who was responsible for the departure of the trains said that he did not know who was being transported in the cars, since he was strictly forbidden to look into them. The third witness, a former prisoner, talks about how they were unloaded from the cars, 5 men in a row were built, beaten with sticks, separating men from women and children, and the doctors – Frank, Schatz, Lucas and Capesius,
Witnesses from former prisoners tell about the conditions in which they lived: in barracks designed for five hundred people, often housed twice as much; six people lay on each bunk, and everyone had to turn on the other side at once, and the blanket was one; heated in barracks rarely; each prisoner was given one bowl: for washing, eating and as a night pot; the daily diet contained no more than 1300 calories, whereas in heavy work a person needs at least 4800 calories. As a result, people were so weak that they were dull and did not even remember their last name. Only one could survive, who could immediately find a job in an intra-camp position: a specialist or an auxiliary work team.
The witness, a former prisoner who worked in the political department of the camp under the leadership of Boger, talks about the brutal tortures and murders that were committed before her eyes. She compiled lists of the deceased and knew that out of every hundred newly arrived prisoners, no more than forty survived a week later. Boger, who is sitting in the dock, denies using torture during interrogations, but when he is convicted of lies, he refers to the order and the impossibility of obtaining recognition from criminals and enemies of the state in another way. The defendant is convinced that corporal punishment should have been introduced now to prevent coarsening of morals, as well as for the upbringing of minors.
The former prisoner, who spent several months in the tenth block where medical experiments were conducted, tells how young girls were exposed to the ovaries with an X-ray machine, after which the sex glands were removed and the subjects died. In addition, experiments were conducted on artificial insemination: in the seventh month of pregnancy, women were aborted, and the child, if he remained alive, was killed and opened.
Former prisoners tell the court about the defendant Stark. In those years, Untersharfuhrer Stark was twenty years old and he was preparing for the examinations for a certificate of maturity. Witnesses show that Stark took part in mass executions and personally killed women and children. However, the lawyer draws the attention of the court to the young age of Stark, to his high spiritual demands (he conducted discussions with prisoners about the humanism of Goethe), and the fact that after the war, having got into normal conditions, Stark studied agriculture, was a consultant of economic consultation and up to his arrest he taught at an agricultural school. Defendant Stark explains to the court that from an early age he was accustomed to believe in the infallibility of the law and act according to the order: “We were disinclined to think that others did it for us.”
The witness of the shootings, a former medical student who worked in a team that killed corpses, tells how thousands of people met their deaths in the courtyard of the eleventh block, near the “black wall”. When the mass executions were usually attended by the camp commandant, his adjutant and the head of the political department with co-workers. All the defendants deny their participation in the executions.
One of the witnesses accuses the paramedic Claire of killing prisoners by injecting phenol into the heart. The defendant first denies that he personally killed people, but under the pressure of evidence in all admits. It turns out that about thirty thousand people became victims of phenol injections. One of the defendants, a former camp doctor, confesses to the court that he used human flesh for his studies, since the guard soldiers ate beef and horse meat, which they supplied for bacteriological experiments.
The witness, who was a doctor from the prisoners and worked in the Sonderkommando, who served the crematorium, tells the court how the preparation of hydrocyanic acid, gas “Cyclone-B” was used for mass killing prisoners. In the Sonderkommando, under the command of Dr. Mengele, there were eight hundred and sixty prisoners who were destroyed and recruited after a certain time. The newcomers, selected for destruction, were taken to the locker room, which housed about two thousand people, explaining to them that they were waiting for a bath and disinfection. Then they were driven into the next room, which was not even disguised as a shower room, and gas was thrown out from above into special holes in the ceiling, which in the bound state had the appearance of a granular mass. The gas quickly evaporated, and in five minutes everyone was dying of suffocation. Then included ventilation, gas was pumped out of the room, the corpses were dragged to the freight elevators and lifted up to the stoves. The witness claims that more than three million people were killed in the camp and each of the six thousand employees of the camp administration was aware of the mass destruction of people.
Defendant Mulka, adjutant of the camp commandant, declares to the court that only at the end of his service in the camp did he learn about the destruction actions. On behalf of all the defendants, he declares: they were convinced that all this was done to achieve “some secret military goal,” and only obeyed orders. Turning to the court, he says that during the war they did their duty, in spite of the fact that they had a hard time and they were close to despair. And now, when the German nation “by its labor again took the leading position,” it is wiser to tackle “other matters, and not reproaches, which it is long past time to forget for the prescription of the years.”