Controversy has come to be a predictable feature of Holocaust studies. It is hardly surprising, then, that a process of constructing a transnational canon of Holocaust drama, slowly unfolding in critical commentary since the premieres of Rolf Hochhuth's Der Stellvertreter [The deputy] and Peter Weiss's Die Ermittlung [The investigation] in the 1960s, has been fraught with accusations that this questionable project is as much about forgetting as about remembering. Some critics point out, for example, that it gives scant attention to plays written during World War II and in the first years of peace. Though such oversights may be innocent, they signal the hermeneutical difficulty of recognizing works that for various, often non-artistic reasons have been consigned to oblivion with barely a second glance. One consequence of the oversights is to render the history of Holocaust memory and representation partial, not to say misleading. In this article, I want to recover Czesław Miłosz's only play, Prolog [Prologue, 1942], from obscurity and to argue that this text, written in the bloodiest year of the Holocaust, circles around an unstated center, the Shoah, wrestling with questions that continue to resonate some eighty years later.

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