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Education & Language | Heartland - A Historical Drama about the Internment of German- Americans in the United States


A Historical Drama about the Internment of German- Americans in the United States during World War II

Simon, Lojo

2014, XVI, 132 p.


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  • An award-winning play, HEARTLAND educates students about a dark chapter in American history through an accessible yet compelling family story of American farm life during World War II.

During World War II, the US government confined thousands of Japanese-, German- and Italian-Americans to isolated, fenced and guarded relocation centers known as internment camps. At the same time, it shipped foreign Prisoners of War captured overseas to the US for imprisonment.

Heartland reflects on the intersection between these two historic events through the story of a German-born widow and her family who take in two German Prisoners of War to work their family farm. But the German-American family and the POWs bond too well for the townspeople to accept, and the widow is arrested, interned and eventually suffers a breakdown, which tears her family apart.

Based on true stories, Heartland  illustrates what can happen when fear and prejudice pit neighbor against neighbor in times of war. A dramatic tale that grants insights into American history, Heartland is a winner of the Dayton Playhouse FutureFest and a runner-up for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award.

“The story is shocking; for me it was revelatory,” wrote theatre critic Pat Launer. “Deporting our own citizens? Who knew? But the play, while conveying historical information, is not in the slightest didactic. It’s a family story, a tale of survival and acquiescence, of racism, of neighbor against neighbor. Not a pretty picture ….”

While it may be read for pleasure, Heartland also is a useful tool for exposing students to important lessons in history, politics, economics, sociology, psychology, women’s studies and other academic disciplines.

Social Fictions Series Editorial Advisory Board
Carl Bagley, University of Durham, UK
Anna Banks, University of Idaho, USA
Carolyn Ellis, University of South Florida, USA
Rita Irwin, University of British Columbia, Canada
J. Gary Knowles, University of Toronto, Canada
Laurel Richardson, The Ohio State University (Emeritus), USA

Lojo Simon is a playwright, dramaturg and journalist. Her play, Adoration of Dora, about surrealist photographer Dora Maar, won the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award given by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. She holds an MFA in Theatre from University of Idaho.

Anita Yellin Simons is a political activist and playwright who combines both her love of history and activism in her many award-winning plays. From her first play Goodbye Memories about Anne Frank before going into hiding to a later play This We’ll Defend about female rape in the military, Simons presents thought-provoking theater with humor and pathos.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » POW - World War II - history - internment - prejudice

Related subjects » Education & Language

Table of contents 

Preface; Acknowledgements; List of Images; Introduction; Characters and Setting; HEARTLAND: The Play; References.


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