Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Miscellaneous Single Episodes
Show: NBC Purim Holiday Broadcast: "Courage Is Their Badge"
Date: Mar 05 1944

PURIM (HIGH JEWISH HOLIDAY)

COURAGE IS THEIR BADGE

BY
LISA BARRETT DREW

AUSPICES OF
THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE

National Broadcasting Company ... Sunday
12:00 Noon - 12:30 P.M. EWT ... March 5, 1944

NARRATOR:

(OPENS COLD) This is Fredric March. A very wonderful thing is happening in this world and we think you ought to know about it - know about it because it concerns you and your family today and tomorrow. And if you have a son somewhere at the fighting front at this moment, you can have renewed hope that some good will come out of his fight. Wherever he is he has joined hands with his Brothers in battle...and here and there in this war-wracked world other soldiers without guns are joining hands with their brothers. There is your hope -- hope for the day when we, the people of a United World can, without exception, look upon each other and say -- "I am my brother's keeper - and I am keeping him well".

MUSIC:

THEME UP

ANNOUNCER:

The National Broadcasting Company and its independent, affiliated stations, in cooperation with the American Jewish Committee, brings you a special Jewish holiday broadcast celebrating Purim, which begins next Wednesday evening. Purim marks the story of Queen Esther, who helped to free her people from the persecution of the ancient tyrant Hainan.

Today you will hear the dramatic story of the courageous defiance of the Danes against a modern tyrant in the liberation of their Jewish brethren. The dramatization is titled "COURAGE IS THEIR BADGE", written by Lisa Barrett Drew, and starring the distinguished actor of stage and screen, Fredric March, as the narrator.

NARRATOR:

There are no atheists at the controls of a dive bomber. There are no non-believers in dark and dirty foxholes. There are no agnostics crawling on their stomachs under barbed wire in the night. Every man with a gun carries another weapon with him when he flies or crawls or waits for the enemy. He carries a weapon he has fashioned himself out of thought, understanding and personal experience....That weapon is his belief -- his own personal interpretation of the Meaning of it all - his version of the Reason. His weapon is his religion.

MUSIC:

SNEAKS IN AND UNDER FOLLOWING

NARRATOR:

He may pray before an altar of sandbags banked against an anti-aircraft gun - he may kneel on ground soaked with the warm blood of his buddy -- he may crouch in a jungle trench and to the accompaniment of a sniper's rifle say his own original prayers....

MUSIC:

BUILDS UP TO SEMI CLIMAX AND UNDER

NARRATOR:

At this moment, perhaps, a weary, sweaty soldier -- still bewildered by his sudden transformation from a boy of peace to a man of war -- crouches in the grave-like hole he has dug for himself -- hands clutched nervously on the trigger of his gun -- eyes paining from piercing the ghostly, hushed darkness of the jungle - scarcely breathing lest one brief breath denote his hiding place to the enemy-infested entanglement....Every nerve tightened with tenseness -- every muscle strained for strength -- waiting - waiting -- on the brink of death. He says a prayer learned long ago in a time called his youth. It can't come from his lips because they are hot and stiff with thirst. But the words of his prayer are loud in his heart....

SOLDIER:

FEW WORDS OF PURIM PRAYER...(UP AND FADE)

NARRATOR:

Somewhere in his mixed-up mind he has remembered a prayer. It is the prayer of his people for he was born in the Jewish faith. Yet his prayer could be prayed by every man who holds a gun in the name of freedom....it is a prayer for the day of deliverance.

MUSIC:

UP HOLY AND OUT

NARRATOR:

Perhaps this boy was remembering home -- his family and friends - all the little things that made his life big...or perhaps he sensed with his instinct for religion that somewhere, though not for him, it was spring. Spring - when back home in America it meant a special day with him and his folks -- a day called by his people, Purim. He remembers how his father explained it to him - such a long time ago it seems -- like a story it was....

FATHER:

(WITHOUT ACCENT) Purim, son, is when we as Jews give thanks for all the times we have been freed from those who would enslave us. It's all in the Bible - the story of Esther. There was a king - Ahasuerus was his name - who ruled in Persia.

Among his subjects was a man who hated the Jews. This man lied and deceived his king against the Jews. He was a self-appointed executioner of the Jews because he built gallows on which he planned to hang the Jews. But the king who was a kindly man at heart soon discovered that his own life had been saved by a Jew. And the man who wanted to take the fate of thousands of people into his own hands -- who plotted and schemed to destroy others -- who built gallows to hang the people he hated...died by his own treachery on those same gallows!

BOY:

When did that happen, Dad? And who was that man - the man who hated the Jewish people? What was his name?

FATHER:

It was the year four hundred and eighty-two, B.C. - and his name was Hainan!

NARRATOR:

The year four-hundred and eighty-two, B.C.- and his name was Hainan! History unrolls through the years. Hainans rise again and again -

BOY:

(IN FILTER) When did this happen, Dad? And who was that man - the man who hated the Jewish people? What was his name?

FATHER:

(IN FILTER) The year was nineteen hundred and forty-four, A.D. - and his name... Hitler.

VOICES:

WAIL.

NARRATOR:

Hainan and Hitler - a murderer and his reincarnated self. History turned back to its blackest pages by the thumb of a tyrant. The parallel of Hainan and his hatred in Persia has leapt through the centuries to crush down again. There is an army of Hainans in Europe today....(MUSIC: SNEAK)...goose-stepping on the rights of man - building gallows with nooses for innocent necks. Their only religion -- the swastika.

MUSIC:

UP GERMAN AND OUT

NARRATOR:

But there is one country in which the Hainan of today finds no success with the tactics he used before. He has been met and defeated by another King Ahasuerus. That country is Denmark.

MUSIC:

DISSOLVES INTO LIGHTER VEIN

NARRATOR:

It was April 8, 1940. Though the tramping of battle-booted feet resounded over the floor of Europe, still, in Denmark it was spring. The day seemed to bear the bright promise of the season, and hope swelled a little in the hearts of the people. They went about their daily duties as they had done before -- not startling the world, but quietly, simply - and each man in his own way contributing his small part toward his family, his community and his country. In one city, life went on undisturbed except for the constant rhythmic heartbeat of the people. This might have been St. Louis, or Dallas, or San Francisco, U.S.A. on that spring day of 1940.

But it was Copenhagen -- Copenhagen in the country that looks so tiny on the map. A beautiful city steeped in centuries of culture, with its museums, zoos, gardens, shops -- like many American cities a haven for tourists....TOURISTS!

MUSIC:

OUT

NARRATOR:

Copenhagen had a tourist that April day of 1940....He arrived quite unnoticed in this hospitable city --

CLERK:

Good morning, Sir. Welcome to Copenhagen and the Angleterre Hotel.

KAUPISCH:

(IN COMMANDING TONE: GERMAN ACCENT) A suite, please. A large one. I shall need lots of space.

CLERK:

Yes, of course, Sir. I can give you a very beautiful suite -- very special, Sir. With a view.

KAUPISCH:

(SARDONICALLY) With a view -- yes -- by all means with a view.

CLERK:

Your name, please?

KAUPISCH:

(SLIGHT PAUSE) Leonhard Kaupisch!

MUSIC:

IN STRONG AND SINISTER AND UNDER FOLLOWING

NARRATOR:

The hotel clerk was never to forget that name. Nor were any of his countrymen ever to forget the name of Leonhard Kaupisch, the tourist, who came to Copenhagen that spring day, April 8, 1940. Forget the name? The whole world was given ghastly reason to remember....The next morning at six o'clock - a different and deadly dawn descended upon Denmark. And on that register in the Angleterre Hotel in Copenhagen, seven black words were written after the name of Kaupisch!

GERMAN VOICE:

COMMANDER OF THE GERMAN TROOPS IN DENMARK!

MUSIC:

UP CRASHING AND UNDER

NARRATOR:

No alternative. No choice. Yesterday - Hope, Today - Despair. Yesterday -- Liberty. Today -- Death. The enemy creeping like a cancer over the body of a healthy nation. A malignant thing sapping the strength and the spirit of a good people. The Nazi octopus spreading and tightening its choking grip on a small, unsuspecting, defenseless nation -- a nation of human beings -- now numb with terror.

MUSIC:

UP TO CLIMAX

NARRATOR:

It was spring in Denmark, April 9, 1940. Spring that suddenly became black, bleak winter to the heart of Denmark. The Nazis worked fast. And why not? The highly perfected machine of murder was still freshly oiled with the blood of Czechs and Poles. And yet, even with this perfect method of massacre - something was not going quite as "planned" - Kaupisch was confused.....

KAUPISCH:

Something must be done. The people are not cooperating--

GERMAN:

To my mind it would be better to take over entirely.

KAUPISCH:

Don't be a fool, Von Aunslodt -- we have taken over entirely. Keeping their officials intact is only a farce.

GERMAN:

But things grow worse. The Danes turn off the street when our men appear. They are a stubborn people. I do not like their silence - or their stares -- or their thoughts

KAUPISCH:

You are smart not to underestimate them. Before I came here as a "tourist" I learned about these people. For four thousand years they have remained the same -- strong and proud. More than a thousand years ago they had a king -- Gorm the Old, they called him. He is the one with whom we must deal.

GERMAN:

We must deal with a king who lived more than a thousand years ago?

KAUPISCH:

You remember the Maginot Line?

GERMAN:

(HIS IDEA OF JOKE) Ha! Who remembers the Maginot Line?

KAUPISCH:

The Maginot Line was nothing to us. It was made of concrete and steel...easy for us to destroy. But another line - we cannot destroy so easily - the Dannevirke line...

GERMAN:

Dannevirke? Where is that? I have not seen it on our maps.

KAUPISCH:

It is on the spiritual map of Denmark.

GERMAN:

The -- what?

KAUPISCH:

Gorm, the old king, built a wall to separate Denmark from Germany a thousand years ago. It is now only a spiritual wall - but it remains that way!

MUSIC UP DANISH THEME AND OUT

KAUPISCH:

Gentlemen! I have called you here because our progress is being halted. Our plans for a perfect occupation of "protective custody" are not fooling the Danes or the rest of the world...

VOICES:

UP AS IN DISCUSSION.

KAUPISCH:

(SLYLY AND SELF-SATISFIED) Gentlemen! So far Denmark is occupied but not conquered. They have no arms - no defenses - nothing with which to fight us but ONE thing. That is the thing we must attack and destroy! Their weapon is their unity! We will drive a wedge into this unity -- a spearhead -- we will separate the whole from the minority - we will divide...and conquer. Gentlemen, the time is ripe to introduce an important character in the farce of Denmark -- the Scapegoat - Gentlemen! The Jews!

MUSIC UP SINISTER AND UNDER

NARRATOR:

And so, with the New Order, the old order had changed not at all. Here was the same old prescription for murder. Divide -- put brother against brother - citizen against citizen -- poor against rich -- Inject the germ into the civil heart of a nation and nurture it with constant racial and religious irritation. Put Protestant against Catholic - race against race -- religion against religion - Put the nation against a minority -- the Jews!

MUSIC:

OUT QUICKLY

NARRATOR:

(CHANGE OF MOOD) And why? To throw a smokescreen over the real issue - desire to rule -- desire to enslave the entire nation -- desire to bend the will of the world. Crafty camouflage. "The time is ripe," Kaupisch said. This is what he meant...

VOICES:

SYNAGOGUE

NARRATOR:

It might have been early mass on Easter morning in the Catholic church or it might have been Christmas Eve in the Protestant church. But it was September and high holidays for those adhering to the Jewish faith. In Copenhagen the people gathered in synagogues hoping to worship as they had done for many centuries before.

MUSIC:

UP WITH CHORUS OF PRAYING IN BACKGROUND. RABBI'S VOICE STANDS OUT IN ENGLISH

SOUND:

(ENTIRE SCENE WITH REVERBERATION (LARGE ROOM) EFFECT, NOISE OF DOORS BEING PUSHED OPEN. VOICES RISING IN FRIGHT, BREAK FOR COMPLETE SILENCE)

RABBI:

(AS THOUGH CONTINUING) ... and if I trespass on the rights of my brothers in the eyes of God I shall be in presumption and in error ...

GERMAN:

(SHOUTING FROM REAR) You will cease your services. All Jews will return immediately to their homes. These are orders - if disobeyed -- the penalty is death.

SOUND:

(VOICES UP FRIGHTENED. SOBS FROM WOMEN. GERMAN VOICES GIVING COMMANDS TO MARCH FROM CHURCH. SHUFFLING. SOUND GROWS TO PITCH AND BREAKS INTO COMPLETE SILENCE. HUSH - FOLLOWED BY DELIBERATE SINGLE FOOTSTEPS COMING UP ON MIKE. CONTINUE UNDER)

NARRATOR:

(SOLEMNLY WITH GROWING INSPIRATION) Into the synagogue walked a man - tall and straight and proud. His face lean and tired. His deep set eyes sad but unafraid... In hushed silence the people watch... Who was this creature who came into the synagogue and halted the attacker's hand? (FOOTSTEPS STOP ... VOICES BEGIN) Who was this saviour-like person whose very presence suppressed the enemy? Who was this figure who walked into a House of God with the humbleness of a man -- and the dignity ... of a king?

VOICES:

(WHISPERED IN AWE) The King? The King?
The King walks into our synagogue.
Look - there are no guards - he walks alone.
(MORE VOICES UP AND UNDER)

NARRATOR:

Christian the Tenth, King of Denmark, came into the synagogue of the Jews. Without the utterance of a word he proclaimed himself their protector -- their friend. He was well named, this king - Christian.

MUSIC:

UP HOLY AND OUT

NARRATOR:

But the Germans were determined -- having lost face they grew even more malicious. Immediately more orders went out against the Jews....

GERMAN VOICES:

No Jews allowed in public parks!
Two hundred Jews will be interned today for pro-allied activities!
Three hundred Jews arrested today for listening to British broadcasts.

GERMAN:

Two hundred -- three hundred -- four hundred - (FADING) five hundred - six ...

NARRATOR:

But the horror of Hitler had only begun... The blood of adult Jews was not enough -- it did not satisfy the greed of the insatiable Nazi appetite for murder. They thirsted for more blood -- this time from children!

GERMAN:

The Danes have not yet felt the full might of the Fuehrer: Get rid of the Jewish children - just a few -

NARRATOR:

A few at first - only fifty-two... fifty-two children from one year to twelve - yes...a one year old child -- only beginning to learn the feeling of standing on his own two feet -- only beginning...

WOMAN:

Please -- please - do anything to me but not my baby - she's only one year old -- how can she harm you...

GERMAN:

(WITH DISDAIN) She is a Jew!

WOMAN:

But what will happen to her -- where are you taking her - where? She cannot walk alone - she is so scared -- please - please --

GERMAN:

Put her with the others - she will be taken care of --

MUSIC:

IN TRAGIC AND UNDER

NARRATOR:

Taken care of -- shoved into a freight car on a railroad track bound for where? Disease - torture - death. This is the Nazi method of murder - a Nazi attack of guns, tanks, planes - the full brutal strength of the Nazi army thrown against-- a battalion of children! Children in a world where a child should be able to look up -- hold wonder in his eyes - trust in his soul -- look up and see confidence and protection -- not torture ... a child's heart cannot understand. These poor children living their few short years in a world where the fantasy of power has made men forget the vibrance of children's laughter - the music of children's voices - and the sad sound of children's weeping.

MUSIC:

UP AND OUT

NARRATOR:

The Nazi noose grew tighter. All the Danes - Protestant, Catholic, Jew - all are a proud people. The next attack came on their pride - the Nazi weapon -- Humiliation!

GERMAN:

Beginning today every Jew in Denmark will wear a yellow badge on his arm. No Jew will dare show himself without the badge marking him a Jew.

NARRATOR:

A badge! Every Jew must wear a yellow badge - A Nazi emissary brought the order to the King...

NAZI:

(CONDESCENDINGLY) In this way, we shall help you to solve the Jewish problem in Denmark.

KING:

(GREAT DIGNITY BUT QUIETLY) Jewish problem? We have no Jewish problem in Denmark. You see, we do not consider ourselves inferior to the Jews.

NARRATOR:

The old Dannevirke line was holding well.

NAZI:

The Jews must wear the yellow badge!

KING:

If that is so then I shall wear the yellow badge myself and order that my entire house shall do the same!

NARRATOR:

And Christian was his name.

MUSIC:

UP IN SAME DANISH THEME AND UNDER

NARRATOR:

The unity of the Danish people could not be broken. Every atrocity of the Nazis was met with quiet, but staunch defiance. Stern commands came from Berlin -- blame the Jews - kill the Jews -- The word leaked out. The Danes heard - friend told friend - Protestant relayed to Catholic -- Catholic to Jew.

DANE 1:

(WHISPERED) I heard it in the street - two Nazi soldiers - they plan to kill a thousand Jews.

DANE 2:

Spread the word - but take care - tell them tomorrow night -- the boats will be ready .....

DANE 1:

Tell them the word has come from Sweden. They are welcome there. We will notify Sweden about the boats.

DANE 2:

Tomorrow night - nine boats. Spread the word....

VOICES:

MUFFLED IN WHISPERINGS SPREADING THE WORD

NARRATOR:

And the word was spread. Never a look upon the face of a Dane to give away the plan. Boats -- only fishing boats....but to the Jews -- vessels for freedom - freedom with their friends the Swedes!

SOUND:

(WATER AGAINST BOATS)

DANE 1:

(WHISPERING) Shhh! Not a sound. The shores are being watched - the patrol boats are out. It is a chance -- but you must take it....

JEW:

A chance - and you are giving it to us. We shall never forget - God bless you, friends. (VOICE BREAKS)

DANE 1:

You are Danes and we are Danes. Who knows - tomorrow it may be our turn. Our thanks will be your safe arrival on Sweden's shores. Godspeed! Until we meet again in a free Denmark.

SOUND:

(SLAPPING OF WATER AGAINST BOATS. CROWD WHISPERINGS. CHAINS RELEASING BOATS.)

JEW:

(IN BOAT: WHISPERING) Can you hear me? Don't speak above a whisper. The night and the fog will protect us - have faith. All around us are the other boats. Watch carefully. Listen for any sound.

WOMAN:

Lights - searchlights! They know -- they've found us!

JEW:

Down in the boats. Men -- row faster -- faster ...

SOUND:

(GUN SHOTS...SCREAMS...BOAT CAPSIZING. SILENCE)

NARRATOR:

Some of that little flotilla bound for freedom never reached the friendly shore of Sweden - instead they found a watery grave for their grief. A few did get through ...

SOUNDS:

(BOATS COMING AGAINST SHORE)

VOICES:

They're here! They made it! Bring the food and the coffee...

SWEDE:

Welcome friends ......

JEW:

I don't know how many of us have come. We did not all get through -- the Nazis found out - searchlights -- guns - some went down....

SWEDE:

Come my friend, rest. There is food and hot coffee. And homes for as many of you as came tonight - and will come other nights. And there will be much for you to do - already we have made arrangements for your people to find work in factories - in agriculture....

JEW:

We are grateful....

SWEDE:

Wait - what is that -- on your arm?

JEW:

It is the Nazi order -- a badge to mark us Jews...

SOUND:

RIPPING OF MATERIAL

SWEDE:

Tear it off. No man need wear a label in this country. Denmark is our friend and all Danes are welcome here whatever their creed. Listen, everyone -- Swedes go among these people and tear the badges from their sleeves!

SOUND:

(CROWD NOISES)

MUSIC:

UP QUICKLY AND BIG

NARRATOR:

And back in Denmark the people heard by the underground that at least some of the Jews had reached a haven that would harbor them until they could come home. And when they passed a group of Nazi soldiers on the street - the soldiers were bewildered and angered at the proud elated look on Danish faces. The King, being driven through the streets under Nazi escort, spoke words that slipped by the Nazi mind - but into the hearts of his people -

KING:

I am glad the language of my people is still being spoken in my fatherland. Continue.

NARRATOR:

"Continue", the King said. And the Danes continued. Did the Nazis think they could impose the badge of humiliation upon Denmark? Never! For the Danes possess something so powerful that no threat -- no bullet can ever destroy. A creed of humanity - and for that creed they took their stand.

Although the Nazis tried to suppress it - through means beyond their control -- this letter, written by the bishops of Denmark was read in every Danish church - and was brought out for the world to hear....

VOICE:

Everywhere where the Jews are persecuted it is the duty of the Christian Congregations to protest because the persecution of the Jews conflicts with the sense of justice of the Danish people traditional in Danish culture through the centuries. We interpret religious liberty as the right to exercise our worship according to our vocation and conscience, and so that race and religion will never mean that a human being is deprived of his rights, liberty, or property.

Regardless of differing religious views, we will fight in order that our Jewish brothers and sisters may secure the same liberty as ourselves, which we consider more precious than life itself. Therefore - we will, on all occasions, clearly confess to the world - that we shall obey God rather than man.

MUSIC:

NARRATOR:

Was this the badge of humiliation? No, Christian, King of Denmark, and his people wear a prouder badge as a label of their unity and a defiance to the enemy! Theirs is a badge for all the world to wear! COURAGE IS THEIR BADGE!

MUSIC:

UP FULL TO CLIMAX AND OUT

CLOSING ANNOUNCEMENT

ANNOUNCER:

You have just heard a dramatization titled "COURAGE IS THEIR BADGE", presented by the American Jewish Committee in celebration of the forthcoming Jewish holiday of Purim. The script was written by Lisa Barrett Drew and starred Fredric March as the narrator. Copies of the dramatization, "COURAGE IS THEIR BADGE", may be secured free of charge by writing directly to the American Jewish Committee, 386 Fourth Avenue, New York City, New York.

This program was brought to you as a public service by the National Broadcasting Company and its independent affiliated stations.