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Characters in All Our Children
Victor Franz, a Doctor, Director of the Clinic
A pediatrician who founded the children’s hospital 30 years ago, whose professional opinion has become a cover for the Nazi program to murder the disabled. Within the course of a day, he comes to his own moral reckoning, realizing that his life’s work, a desire to do ‘good,’ has been subverted by his compliance with the Nazi regime’s mandate.
Eric, Deputy Director, Administrator
A 23 year old SS officer and Nazi true believer; he is all about supporting and following the Party line. He seems to have no moral compass. He embodies the raw “will to power” of the new State. His medical white coat is a lie, a flagrant slap in the face of Dr. Franz, and emblematic of the barbarous social order established under the National Socialist regime.
Martha, a Maid
Dr. Franz’s faithful housemaid, she tries to be the “good German,” who follows all the rules – both Church (Catholicism) and State (she has the ‘normal,’ healthy, working family). She follows the path of least resistance, but during the play ultimately realizes what is happening and, spurred on by her disquieting conscience, is the one to state: “They’re just children. All our children.”
Elizabetta, a Mother
The single Mother who feels the cruel hand of the State. She is cajoled by the State to surrender her disabled child to the “care” of the Institution, relieving her of the “burden” of providing for him. Haunted by her decision and tormented by the fractured bond between mother and child,. she is robbed of her sense of humanity and the right to define her son’s future.
Bishop von Galen, Bishop of Münster
Though of proud aristocratic German stock, the bishop is first and foremost a Catholic, second a German. He is critical of the Nazi program to systematically exterminate those deemed “unfit,” specifically the mentally and physically disabled. He proclaims all life is sacred. In real life, Bishop von Galen was one of the few people with some power to speak out against the Third Reich. In the play, he acts as the counterpoint to Eric; he is the voice of conscience defending the defenseless.