(a screen play)
A candle lighted in the dark to the sound of prayer – then broken into a train whistle, which bridges into next scene
SCENE 1: Train Depot – Day
(a train pulls into the yards – various shots of faces, and then a shot of Meyers putting on his glasses as he peers at the cobble stone plaza from the step of the train. Tables and chairs are being set up. Meyers waits for his turn on line, comes to the table, where the clerk glances up at him.
I’m a professor of history and literature
Non essential. Stand over there.
(Clerk points to a line of people near the wall. Meyers goes there, glances around. He sees Nazis beating up several Jews who apparently don’t understand the commands or are too slow to obey. Then he sees Hattenback.
MEYER (calling out)
Frank Hattenback, is that you?
(HATTENBACK (glances at him, frowns, then brightened and hurries over.)
What are you doing here?
I’m a Jew.
I do what I’m told.
The authorities say I have to come to Krakow, I come to Krakow.
But now they tell me I’m an unessential worker.
We’ll see about that.
(Hattenback leads Meyers back to the clerk)
This man is a skilled metal worker.
He belongs on the other line.
(The clerk stamps Meyers papers then hands them back and points to the new line)
Good luck, professor
I may need it. And luck to you as well
(HATTENBACK marches back to where he was before, but he is soon approached by an SS Officer)
How is it that you know that Jew?
HATTENBACK: (takes a deep breath)
I recognized him as a factory worker from my home town.
He was on the wrong line.
You have been reassigned.
You will be handling Jews for special treatment.
SCENE 2: A well to do apartment outside the ghetto. – day time
As Jews continue to pass along the street outside, Hattenback enters the building, climbs the stairs and comes into the apartment, looks around and nods.
This couldn’t be better.
(He sees the Jewish icon on shelf. Takes it down, and drops in into the trash can)
SCENE 3 – Ghetto Apartment – Day
(Meyers looks around the crowded and dirty rooms)
It could be worse
How could it be worse?
We could be dead.
(He sits down at the table with a pen and paper)
I must let Frank know that I have been settled safely.
You say you can get it out of the Ghetto to him.
For a price.
Who is this soldier that you would pay to thank him?
A former student of mine at the university.
He was a very promising young man
And now he is a Nazi.
He wasn’t bad when I knew him, and I don’t think he’s bad now.
Otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten me work at the factory.
They are all bad.
But I’ll get the note to him.
SCENE 4: the church – day
Jew #1 sneaks into the church, meets with contacts, at which point, whistles sounds, and Nazi soldiers swarm over them, and arrest them
SCENE 5 Gestapo Headquarters – day
You sent for me?
I have a letter here from a Jew in the Ghetto, thanking you for getting him a job at the factory.
We arrested several members of the black market. Apparently one had been hired to deliver it to you.
I knew the Jew from the university.
Did you know he was a socialist as well?
I wasn’t at the university long enough.
My father was a mine worker. When he died. I had to quit and take a job in the mines.
Do not get too attached to these people, Hattenback.
They will not be here long.
The Fuhrer has a more permanent solution in mind for them.
SCENE 6: The street – twilight
HATTENBACK: (Walking towards the ghetto gate)
This is crazy.
I joined the army to get out of the mines, not to murder innocent people.
I’ve got to warn the professor. Maybe he still has time to get out.
(Hattenback reaches the Ghetto gate to find the ghetto in an uproar, streets filled with suitcases and dead bodies. When he comes to the place where Meyers was staying, he finds it empty, and bloody.)\
This is my fault.
I have to find him.
If he’s still alive.
SCENE 7 – TRUCK existing the ghetto – twilight
(Meyers stare out at the slaughter as the Nazis shoot anyone too lames or slow to obey orders.)
What do they want from us?
This makes no sense.
(The trucks arrive at the camp where they are greeted with more violence, barbed wire and guard dogs.)
How can Frank be apart of all this?
If your friend is a Nazi, then he is part of this.
But I have to get word to him, to let him know what is going on
You don’t think he knows already?
I have to try and bribe one of the Jewish officers.
The only comfort is that we’re not alone in this
They can’t kill us all
They can try.
(Meyers jots down a message and hands it to one of the ghetto police with a wad of bills)
SCENE 8: Camp headquarters – MORNING
(Hattenback, gripping the note in his fist, enters and salutes)
You were supposed to be here yesterday.
I got caught up in the traffic -- all the roads were clogged.
It’s going to get more crowded here.
We have more Jews coming in from Hungary. We have to make room for them.
I want you to clean some of them out.
Send them where?
Auschwitz. For disposal.
When does all this stop?
When there are no more Jews.
the roster in the morning.
Here is the list.
(hands Hattenback a clip board – Meyers’ name is on it)
SCENE 9 – the Factory – night
(HATTENBACK comes to the guard house at the bottom of the stairs. The factory owner appears at the top. The guard tells Hattenback to go up, and he does, entering the office where the director is waiting.)
How can I help you?
A friend of mine, who works for you, is going to die if you don’t help him. He’s one of your workers.
I have a lot of workers. Why should I stick my neck out for him?
Because they say that you care about the Jews, and that the Jews who work for you are safe here.
DIRECTOR: (explodes with rage)
They are mistaken.
What you are asking is illegal. And I won’t be trapped into doing something illegal.
I’m not asking you to do anything illegal. I’m asking you to do what you can.
Fine, if you can get him here, I’ll find a way of keeping him here.
SCENE 10 Prisoner Barracks – MORNING
(Meyers wakes to blowing whistles and yelling guards, soldiers rushing through the barracks telling everyone to go outside.)
They’re sorting people to send them off. They’ll have a list
HATTENBACK: (stumbling outside hears his name called by one of the Jewish guards)
(He raises his hand. A Nazi guard yanks him out of the line and shoves him into another line, which heads towards the open doors of waiting box cars)
We’re dead men.
Those who leave here, never come back.
(The guards closed the doors on the box cars. But just as the train starts to move, someone calls Meyers by name from outside)
MEYERS: (Goes to the small opening)
I’m in here.
Stop the train!
He’s in here.
(The train stops. The door opens. Hattenback is standing there with two guards. He is signing a paper.)
MEYERS: (As he walks away with Hattenback)
You came to get me.
Don’t count your blessing yet, Professor.
I lied through my teeth to do it.
If they figure that out before we’re gone, they’ll shoot us both.
So just keep walking and don’t look back.
So you’re not one them after all.
You’re wrong, professor.
We’re all exactly a like.
That’s our problem.
SCENE 11: The factory – day
The Gestapo and Nazi soldiers are waiting when Hattenback and Meyers pull up.)
You’re under arrest. Both of you.
DIRECTOR (comes out of the factory door)
And what do you think you’re doing taking my essential worker?
There is nothing essential about a Jew.
I’d take the soldier, too, but you clearly won’t let me have him.
We will take who went want.
Silence. Both of you.
GESTAPO (spits onto the ground)
All right, if you want the Jew, keep him.
But the soldier comes with us.
If you’re taking, Frank, then you have to take me, too.
Please, Professor. Stay here.
If you don’t, then it’s all been wasted effort.
DIRECTOR: (Puts a hand on Meyer’s shoulder)
Don’t fight them, Professor.
(The Gestapo put Hattenback in their car and drive off.)
But he’s not like one of them and they’re going to kill him.
Come inside before they change their minds about you.
I have some calls to make.