'Did Hitler's daughter, Heidi, really exist? Four country children waiting in the rain for the school bus take turns telling stories. In an unusual twist, Anna's story takes the children to Nazi Germany. An intriguing tale about Heidi, a young girl caught in the turmoil of World War II, whose father was one of the most dreaded men in history.
'One of the children, Mark, becomes engrossed in Heidi's story. In his conversations with his friends, his teacher and with his parents, he explores the moral and ethical issues it raises.
'This intriguing play poses powerful questions about a frightening period in history and forces us to examine moral issues in relation to society's fears and prejudices in a fresh, compelling light.'
Source: Monkey Baa Theatre for Children website, http://www.monkeybaa.com.au/
'This article argues that two significant recent influential historical novels about the Holocaust, Hitler’s Daughter (1999) and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2006), reprise the genre traits of the Bildungsroman or novel of development and can be regarded as remarkably effective in engaging an active reader. Both novels, intended for children and younger adolescent readers, are focused on initially sequestered child protagonists from a perpetrator culture who are unable to fully understand their circumstances but undergo formative experiences by leaving ‘home’, legible both as a physical domicile and a site of indoctrination and repression. As they journey away from a limited conception of biological family the novel’s protagonists are able to reject constricting modes of social conditioning that repress authentic self-expression, curiosity, and impartial ethical judgment. In both novels the protagonists transform their perception of their circumstances by becoming resourceful bricoleurs, unearthing imaginative possibilities in their immediate environment that allow them to forestall emotional isolation and the dehumanization of designated ‘Others’ such as the Jews. The article suggests that while The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas has been read as reinforcing the myth of German innocence, its typological representation of a ‘dangerous family’ and its implied affirmation of Bruno’s explorative instincts, empathetic capacities, and commitment to friendship, allow a reader greater recognition of the ‘banal ideologies and institutions occupied by the perpetrator’ (Ann Rider).' (Publication summary)