German Friendship Award
Worcester playwright Marc P. Smith was given a German Friendship Award, signed by German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, in recognition of Smith’s ‘efforts on behalf of German-American relations’ and ‘fostering and sustaining friendship between Germany and the United States.’
The presentation was a surprise to Smith who, on June 26, 2008, was simply asked to come to the German Consulate in Boston to have a brief meeting with the outgoing Consul General Dr. Wolfgang Vorwerk (pictured) prior to Vorwerk’s retirement and return to Germany. Also present for the presentation and champagne toast were the new Consul General, Friedrich Loehr and Veronica Jochum von Moltke (pictured).
For the previous seven years, Smith had been an active participant in a German-Jewish dialogue group that met monthly near Boston; he had also been working on a multi-year creative project, the Kreisau Project, focusing on the story of Helmuth James and Freya von Moltke, who were central to the little-known story of German resistance to the Nazis. The initial centerpiece of this project was his play, A Journey to Kreisau, which had performances in the U.S., Germany, and Poland and is available for touring both here and in Europe. Kreisau (now Krzyzowa, in Poland) was the name of the von Moltke family estate in eastern Germany. Helmuth James was executed by the Gestapo in January 1945; his widow, Freya, who died on New Year’s Day, 2010 at 98, lived in Vermont where she and Marc Smith were in regular communication over a period from 2002 through 2009. It was through her sister-in-law, Veronica, also a member of the German-Jewish dialogue group, that the playwright and Freya von Moltke first met in 2002.
In his reaction to the award, Smith commented, “I am profoundly moved by this certificate of friendship as I recognize my own journey from an attitude of hostility to curiosity to reconciliation to a deep feeling of trust and friendship. This award, to me, is an indication of how important it is for our two peoples to partner together in protecting democratic ideals in an unstable world.”
“Karski” project earns two grants
Worcester playwright Marc P. Smith was awarded an Artists Fellowship Grant from the Worcester Cultural Commission in support of his work researching and writing his new play, “Karski.” The three Worcester performances of “Karski” and a post-performance panel discussion were awarded a Project Grant by Mass Humanities. Each grant, in the amount of $5,000, was made possible via funding received by both agencies from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.