Jewish Wife and Other Short Plays: Includes: In Search of Justice; Informer; Elephant Calf; Measures Taken; Exception and the Rule; Salzburg Dance of Death

By Bertolt Brecht, Eric Bentley

127 ratings - 3.65* vote

These six plays represent the best and most humorous of Brecht's shorter works. The Jewish Wife is from the Fear and Misery in the Third Reich cycle of one-act plays, which, along with In Search of Justice and The Informer, chromicles the hardships of life in Nazi Germany. The Exception and the Rule, one of Brecht's most popular short works, grimly depicts the consequences These six plays represent the best and most humorous of Brecht's shorter works. The Jewish Wife is from the

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Book details

Paperback, 160 pages
March 28th 1994 by Grove Press

(first published March 28th 1971)

Original Title
The Jewish Wife, and Other Short Plays
0802150985 (ISBN13: 9780802150981)
Edition Language

Community Reviews

Lewis Weinstein

This is a short (10 page) play which powerfully presents the thinking of a Jewish woman about to leave her German husband in order that he and his career not be attacked by the Nazis. It suggests the deep underlying Jew-hatred that had by the mid-1930s become an integral part of Hitler's political program. It leaves unsaid the issues of why Germans, and in particular this woman's husband, did not object, ever, even after 6,000,000 Jews had been murdered. Why didn't the husband leave Germany with his wife?

I have been asked to moderate a post-performance discussion of the play in Key West.


اغلب اثار برتولد برشت به فارسی برگردانده شده؛ "سقراط مجروح" کیکاووس جهانداری / "در انبوه شهرها" عبدالرحمن صدریه / "استثناء و قاعده" محمود اعتماد زاده(م. به آذین) / "ان که گفت آری و آن که گفت نه" مصطفی رحیمی / زندگانی گالیله (گالیله ئو گالیله ئی) عبدالرحیم احمدی / "ترس و نکبت رایش سوم" شریف لنکرانی / "ننه دلاور و فرزندان او" مصطفی رحیمی / "آدم، آدم است" دو ترجمه از شریف لنکرانی و امین موید / "بچه فیل" و استنطاق لوکولوس" شریف لنکرانی / "زن نیک سچوان" دو ترجمه از فریده ی لاشایی و مهدی زمانیان / "دایره گچی قفقازی" دو ترجمه از حمید سمندریان و امین موید / "چهره های سیمون ماشار" دو ترجمه از عبدالرحمن صدریه و شریف لنکرانی / "داستان های آقای کوینر" سعید ایمانی / "داستان یک پولی"(اپرای یک پولی) هوشنگ پیرنظر / "تفنگ های ننه کارار" دو ترجمه از فریدون ایل بیگی و شریف لنکرانی / "ارباب پونتیلا و نوکرش مه آتی" سه ترجمه از عبدالرحمن صدریه، فریده ی لاشایی و رضا کرم رضایی / "درباره ی تیاتر" منیزه کامیاب و حسن بایرامی / "هیولا" همایون نوراحمر / "مادر" منیژه کامیاب و حسن بایرامی / "کله گردها و کله تیزها" بهروز مشیری / "بعل" خشایار قائم مقامی / "پیرزنی که پیر نمی نمود" کامران فانی / "گفتگوی فراریان" خشایار قائم مقامی / "اقداماتی علیه زور" ناصر صفایی / "حیوان محبوب آقای کوینر" / ناصر صفایی / "اگر کوسه ماهی ها آدم بودند" بهروز تاجور / "شوایک در جنگ جهانی دوم" دو ترجمه؛ حمید علوی، فرامرز بهزاد / "عظمت و انحطاط شهر ماهاگونی" مهدی اسفندیارفرد / "قطعه آموزشی" مینو ملک خانی / "اندیشه های متی" عبدالله کوثری / "محاکمه ی ژاندارک در روان" عبدالله کوثری / "صلیب گچی" سیاوش بیدارفکر / "قیمت آهن چنده" رضا کرم رضایی / "کریولانوس" مهدی تقوی / "اپرای سه پولی" علی اکبر خداپرست / "ژان مقدس کشتارگاه" دو ترجمه از جواد شمس و ابوالحسن ونده ور / "صعود مقاومت پذیر ارتورو اویی" افرویدون / "زندگی تیاتری من" فریدون ناظری / "روزهای کمون" کاووسی (فریده لاشایی) /"درباره تیاتر" فرامرز بهزاد / و بسیاری دیگر از آثار نوشتاری و مجموعه ی اشعار برشت


I was surprised at how short and simply written these plays were. They detail everyday life in early Nazi Germany. Nothing brutal by today's standard is depicted, but some of the plays really creep inside of you and linger. Murder and atrocity has a way of becoming depersonalized when it's removed and in such staggering numbers. To read the Informer, one of the short plays in this collection, is to get ten minutes of fly on the wall time inside one family's kitchen. A husband and wife send their kid down the street after the husband criticizes the state paper. The parents wonder back and forth if the son heard the remark, and if he'll report the "transgression" as the Nazi Youth leaders command: "Report anything suspicious, even your own parents!"
They argue back and forth until they finally agree the kid must be bringing the SS back to arrest them. "Don't lose your nerve," the husband says to the wife. "Pack up my underwear."
I won't tell you the rest, just read it.


Bertolt Brecht worked on this in mid-1930s Germany, when things began to get ugly. In the title play, a bourgeois housewife, married to a surgeon, wonders, while she packs to go, why half-savages now do the bossing. Three and a half stars.

"The Jewish Wife," along with one-acts by Dorothy Parker and George Bernard Shaw, will take the stage in the fall for a four-week run.


I read this for a Third Reich Lit class in college (yes, it actually was called Third Reich, and no, it wasn't propaganda). Anyway, I've actually reread "The Jewish Wife" several times since. Perhaps it was because my professor was so passionate about it, but really, I find that its a very short play, but says so much about what the people of Germany were going through during such a crazy time.

Cooper Simon

Ranked in order from most interesting/entertaining-The Measures Taken-The Jewish Wife-In Search of Justice-The Informer-The Elephant Calf-The Exception and the rule The 1st 3 are worthy of a reread some day. The 2nd 3 were interesting enough but didn’t touch me the same way.

Eliza A.

The first three plays (The Jewish Wife, In Search of Justice, The Informer) - 4 starsThe last three plays (Measures Taken, Exception and the Rule, Salzburg Dance of Death) - 3 starsUndecided about Elephant Calf.


I only read the Jewish Wife but I thought it was quite good.

Chris Schaeffer

Short Brecht. I don't know. A few excerpts from longer pieces, which seems kind of useless to me.


I think Brecht's plays need to be seen rather than read. I could have used some help with interpretation.