A Journey to Kreisau tells the powerful story of a young German couple, Helmuth James and Freya von Moltke, who were at the center of a resistance effort that included several meetings at the von Moltke estate in Kreisau, in Eastern Germany; this relatively small group of friends laid plans for a post-Hitler world that would encompass a democratic Germany within a democratic Europe. Helmuth James was arrested and imprisoned and later executed by the Nazis during the final months of the Third Reich. Freya escaped with their two sons, ultimately coming to live in Vermont where, (via a German-Jewish dialogue group), Marc had the opportunity to meet with her many times and receive her cooperation in his work on the play. The von Moltke estate, now in Poland and called Krzyzowa, is a center for the study of democratic values and facilitates European integration.
Playwright/Director’s Statement on “A Journey To Kreisau”
First, here’s a toast to used bookstores. It’s because of my passion for such stores that I came upon a galley proof of a book called Letters to Freya—Letters from a Young German Aristocrat to His Wife, 1939-1945. That aristocrat was Helmuth James von Moltke and that riveting collection of letters was the catalyst for this project. Events were further set in motion when, in 1992, at a meeting of the Belmont German-Jewish dialogue group, I learned that a group member I had known as Veronica Jochum was actually Veronica Jochum von Moltke, sister-in-law to Freya. An introduction to Freya followed, and all the rest flowed from that first meeting with Freya.
For me, “A Journey to Kreisau” is not so much a story of resistance to Hitler as it is a narrative of a young couple and their circle of friends, identifying and strengthening the moral center of their universe. Their resistance path was taken in spite of lethal consequences from the Nazis who feared, quite rightly, a threat to the Third Reich’s stranglehold on Germany and the rest of Europe. Ultimately, it was the von Moltkes’ vision that endured. And that victory of moral strength brings honor to the civilization that we now claim as our legacy.
–Marc P. Smith
For Production Rights
For inquiries regarding rights to produce either A Journey to Kreisau or Karski, please e-mail Susan L. Smith here.
For Classroom Study Purposes Only
(via Facing History and Ourselves), please submit this Letter of Agreement.
From the playwright: Both plays were specifically written to be presented in the format of staged readings. Actors are at music stands or lecterns, with scripts in front of them. They are dressed in street clothes, and there are no sets, props, special lighting effects or sound effects. Lights may be focused on one, several, or all the actors, as per the director. Actors may sit, stand, or move about as per the director. It is up to the words of the script and to the actors to create in the minds of the audience the visualization of the characters and events of the times.