Bishop’s Fight to Save the Disabled from Nazis Profiled in Play

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Entertainment, Faith, Media

By Emily Drooby

Courageous, that’s how Tony Award winner, John Glover describes Bishop Clemens Von Galen, the character he portrays in the play, ‘All Our Children.’

Glover explained, “He’s just a guy, who’s got his beliefs, and he stands up for them.”

After a popular run in London’s West End, the play is coming to the Sheen Center in New York City.

It’s about a German doctor who’s forced by the Nazi’s to euthanize people with disabilities, including children. As playwright, Stephen Unwin, explained, the atrocities were committed for financial reasons, “It was about money, it was about that these people were very expensive to keep alive…and so they were attributing economic value to human beings and that seems to me a terrible, terrible, error.”

There wasn’t a lot of public opposition to the horrific program, but one voice spoke out loudly against it.  That of the Bishop of Münster, Clemens Von Galen. The play shows how he helped stop the madness.

Unwin said, “He stood up and opposed the murder of disabled children, disabled people…amazingly, astonishingly he said the right thing at the right time and Hitler stopped the program.”

The play, deeply personal for Unwin. His mother was born Jewish in Nazi Germany, he was brought up Catholic and he has a disabled son.

The play’s director, Ethan McSweeny believes that ‘All Our Children’ will make people think.

McSweeny said, “I do think it’s a play you’ll want to talk about after you see it and, in that way, I find it really rewarding, it doesn’t answer the questions, it raises the questions.”

The American premier of ‘All Our Children’ is being presented by the Sheen Center. Previews begin on April 6.