Vichy, France, 1942. Lebeau, a painter, has been rounded up by the fascist authorities along with Bayard, an electrician, Marchand, a businessman, and several others, all suspected as Jews. As they wait for their interviews with the army Major and the police Captain, they get to know one another.
You know–you all remind me of my father. Always worshipped the hard-working Germans. And now you hear it all over France–we have to learn how to work like the Germans. Good God, don’t you ever read history? Whenever a people starts to work hard, watch out, they’re going to kill somebody,
That depends on how production is organized. If it’s for private profit, yes, but–
What are you talking about, when did the Russians start getting dangerous? When they learned how to work. Look at the Germans–for a thousand years peaceful, disorganized people–they start working and they’re on everybody’s back. Nobody’s afraid of the Africans, are they? Because they don’t work. Read the Bible–work is a curse, you’re not supposed to worship work.
And how do you propose to produce anything?
Well, that’s the problem.
From Incident at Vichy, by Arthur Miller (published 1964.)