Acclaimed Stage Drama Reveals Hidden Tragedy Of Jewish Soldiers Who Fought For Hitler

“The Mitzvah Project”Ÿ December 12

This one-person play and follow-up presentation tells the unsettling story of a German half-Jew who became a decorated officer in the Hitler’s army.


(Sarasota-Manatee) Roger Grunwald, the creator, co-writer and star of “The Mitzvah Project,” is bringing his Holocaust-themed, one-person drama, post-performance lecture and audience discussion to the Sarasota-Manatee region on December 12, 7 p.m., at Beatrice Friedman Theater on The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee’s campus, 580 McIntosh Road, Sarasota. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at or by calling 1-866-465-3995.

“The Mitzvah” explores one of the most unsettling and shocking stories of World War II. It concerns the history and fate of tens of thousands of German men called mischlinge, a derogatory term the Nazis used to characterize those descended from one or two Jewish grandparents. The tragic story of one such mischling, who became an officer in the Wehrmacht, is at the center of this presentation. The play is followed by a post-performance lecture and audience discussion, known as “The Mitzvah Project,” which examines the history of assimilation, intermarriage, conversion and striving by generations of German Jews who were committed to calling Germany their home.

“The Mitzvah Project” was inspired by Grunwald’s mother, an Auschwitz survivor. According to Grunwald, his mother used her experiences as a tool to teach the lesson of the Holocaust to students. In the same way, Grunwald hopes that his live performances will keep the lessons of the Holocaust alive.

Grunwald describes “The Mitzvah Project” as a combination theater, history lesson and conversation. His aim is to give audiences an opportunity to experience humankind’s recent, dark history in a new way. It is an important addition to the historical narratives about the Holocaust at a time when few survivors remain to tell their stories to younger generations..

A professional performing artist for close to four decades, Grunwald is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.  In 2013, he was honored with a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) for the development of “The Mitzvah Project,” which has been touring  the United States since April 2014. Grunwald was recently featured in the pilot episode of the HBO series, Vinyl, directed by Martin Scorsese. For more info, visit


About The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen Jewish life and identity in the Sarasota-Manatee community, provide for Jewish people in need, and to promote support for Israel. In addition, the Federation is responsive when worldwide catastrophes occur. For more information, call 941-371-4546 or visit