SIBYLLE: My father once told me that he was never given anything he wanted as a child. For example, he wanted to have a raspberry soda with his meals. As a matter of principle, he never got it. That was the family way. Not that my brothers and I didn’t receive . . . Beatings were routine, again, in the time-honored practice. If I tore my dress, a beating. Poor marks, a beating. If I talked back to my parents. . .
I remember growing up, Sunday School, hearing the story of Abraham and Isaac. I didn’t react the way the other kids did. It never struck me as strange that a father would tie his child to a rock because someone had told him to. You see, I thought parents had a right to kill their children.
When I was 16, I went to Sachsenhausen. I came home and told my mother what I’d seen. Her comment: “The things you do to yourself…” That same year, I gave them a book. In it, the author mentions a doctor. Well, it seems my parents knew this doctor and, according to them, the day the book places him in the camp, he wasn’t there at all. But at our house, delivering one of my brothers. Which was all the proof they needed to know that “this six million” wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
The crowning touch was their cynicism in naming me Sibylle, so that my initials would always be “S.S.” One of my father’s little jokes.
My brothers say they never had a problem with him and, the fact is, it is difficult to charge Father with anything specific. By sheer accident, it seems he was never present when anything horrendous was happening. He sailed through his de-Nazification. Still, he remained a fascist to his dying day. You can’t imagine . . . Once my older brother was supposed to memorize a poem. Every time he stumbled. Father . . . I can still hear the screams. Mother took me by the hand. “Father’s going to kill Erich. We better leave.” She actually said those words.
[This stage monologue, from the book The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 1993, edited by Jocelyn Beard (Smith and Kraus Publishers, Newbury, VT), Is intended to be used by actresses who are seeking audition material (as the book puts it) that is “fresh and interesting.” Based on the book Born Guilty, by Peter Sichrovsky, the stage adaptation is by Ari Roth. The stage performance rights are controlled exclusively by Samuel French. Inc.. 45 West 25th St. New York City. NY 10010. No professional performance or non-professional performance of the play may be given without obtaitiing in advance the written permission of Samuel French, Inc. and paying the requisite fee.]