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'Funker Rauch', 1984 - 2006

Reference Code: GBR/0273/BURRELL 1/7

Scope and Contents

Based on the typescript translation by Phyllis Rauch of the 'Kriegsbericht eines Vierteljuden' of her husband, the artist Georg Rauch (1924-2006). Georg Rauch wrote his memoir in 1984, with his wife, Phyllis, simultaneously translating it into English. It was 'self-published' by iUniverse in 2005 as 'The Jew with the Iron Cross' and then by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2015 as 'Unlikely Warrior: a Jewish soldier in Hitler’s army'. A copy of this last stands in Peterhouse Ward Library at 102.285.134.
The play was premiered at the Fringe Festival at Edmonton, Canada, in 1991.
Phyllis Rauch has kindly supplied this account:
'The originator of the Edmonton Alberta Canada Fringe Festival, Brian Paisley, was a friend of ours. He read our book while it was in manuscript and said he thought his friend, Michael Burrell, who had already presented a one man show featuring Rudolf Hess, might be interested in making a play of it. That show [Hess] was quite a success. We agreed for Brian to send the manuscript to Michael, who was taken with my husband's memoir and did agree to write 'Funker Rauch', and present it at the same Canadian festival. . . . We traveled from Mexico to the opening in Canada. We were not allowed to meet the cast or know anything about the play beforehand. We were quite prepared, since the story had journeyed from one art form to another, to encounter something totally different from our manuscript. But we were totally thrilled with Michael's adaptation for the stage. So true to Georg's story and also a wonderful piece of theatre. We attended opening night and also the final night when Brian announced "We happen to have the author of this play and the person who experienced these events with us tonight" and waved Georg up onto the stage. It was quite moving. Georg was going to return to his seat but Brian indicated he should leave the stage with the cast. The reason... we later learned was that "young Georg" and "old Georg" played by Michael" had both practised Georg's unusual limp (due to bone TB) and had even both changed from being left handed to right, just for the play. To my knowledge the play wasn't produced again, at least on this side of the Atlantic, until just a few years ago when a local play reading group, "The Naked Stage" presented it as a very professional reading.
We self published our manuscript in 2006, the year Georg died, under the title 'The Jew with the Iron Cross'. It was acquired by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2014 - 40 years after it had been written. Thanks to my untiring efforts and those of my wonderful agent who wouldn't give up. It has been translated into Polish and Italian (with a terrible title, but that's what happens when you sell your rights). There is also a lovely audio version. FSG published it directed to young adults with a Scholastic version and also the Junior Literary Guild.

Perhaps I have told you more than you wanted to know, or left out things that you would have preferred to know. That was a wonderful time in the "story of the book" and I was ever grateful for Michael's ability to see and feel what others have experienced - especially enough to add his own inimitable creative and theatrical touches to Georg's story.'


  • 1984 - 2006

Conditions Governing Access

Permission to allow copying and reproduction when not for profit; requests for performance or translation rights of plays tbc.


1 archive box(es) (1 box) : Paper

Language of Materials



Burrell, Michael Philip (1937-2014) actor and dramatist

Finding aid date

2016-11-09 16:38:13+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Peterhouse (Ward) Library Repository

Ward Library
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1RD United Kingdom
+441223 338218