30th Festival 2020

Main programme

Friday, 06. November 2020 // 7.30 – 9.30 p.m.

From 14 years

Saturday, 07. November 2020 // 7.30 – 9.30 p.m.

Schauspielhaus / Große Bühne

Standard price 22,00 €

Schubert Theater,


»F. Zawrel – erbbiologisch und sozial minderwertig«
(»F. Zawrel – genetically and socially inferior«)

Theatre play with puppets

Conception and text: Simon Meusburger, Nikolaus Habjan based on narrations by Friedrich Zawrel

Puppet building: Nikolaus Habjan

Staging and light design: Simon Meusburger

Costumes: Lisa Zingerle

Actor and puppetry: Nikolaus Habjan

The performance will be followed by a public discussion with Nikolaus Habjan and Simon Meusburger.

If there is such a thing as fulfillment in theatre, then it is this piece. It is an event that you only experience very rarely. Nikolaus Habjan calls »F. Zawrel – erbbiologisch und sozial minderwertig« (»F. Zawrel – genetically and socially inferior«) his »heartfelt favourite piece« and would like to perform it for the rest of his life – in order to keep the memory of Friedrich Zawrel alive, but also as a warning for coming generations.

Friedrich Zawrel grew up in Vienna in the 1930s. During the German occupation of Austria during World War II, he was imprisoned as a child in the »Spiegelgrund«, the second largest »juvenile home« of the German Reich. Hundreds of sick, handicapped and supposedly genetically inferior children and young adults were »treated« and murdered here. The facility doctor, Dr. Gross, determined that Zawrel was »genetically and socially inferior« … but Zawrel survived and managed to flee. After the war he was one of the most important witnesses in addressing euthanasia crimes in Vienna. Friedrich Zawrel died at 85 in February 2015.

After numerous very personal talks with Friedrich Zawrel, Nikolaus Habjan and Simon Meusburger created an unbelievably enthralling, touching and disturbing piece. Nikolaus Habjan’s emphatic performance and his clacking-mouth puppets generates simultaneous alienation and identification. In 2012, the piece received the most important Austrian theatre award, the Nestroy Prize, in the category of »Best independent production«. euro-scene Leipzig already showed this piece in 2016 and would like to offer the audience a second chance to have this encounter.

World première: 23.03.2012, Schubert Theater, Vienna



Production: Schubert Theater

The guest performance in Leipzig will take place with the kind support of Österreichisches Kulturforum Berlin.