The Lambert Chronicles
In the course of one’s life and career as a professional actor, writer, director, or as a producer you’re made aware of stories of real people who have done and experienced some extraordinary dramatic events in their lives. The artist factor in you comes into play and you feel very strongly and want to commit yourself to somehow memorializing these people and their lives into a play or a screenplay or a novel. There is nothing more satisfying than to dramatize the story of a hero and celebrate their life.
I had this opportunity as a writer when I was made aware of the notes, diaries and personal written accounts of the late Major Warren Lambert, one of the eight judges appointed by President Roosevelt to serve as Judge Advocate at the Military War Crimes Trials at Dachau 1945-1947. Warren Lambert held no legal degree. He was a rank and file soldier who held two purple hearts from WWII, but took it upon himself to learn the military code of Justice and become fluent in the German language.
He also took it upon himself to ask questions as to why the U.S. Government officials and the moral leaders of the world were hesitant to come to the aid of Jews who were incarcerated in death camps. Mr. Warren was a crusader for the truth and justice and was outspoken at a time in history where no one dared challenge or question the acts and words of the U.S President, his State Department or to question the Pope, for fear one would be labeled a Communist.
Major Lambert took meticulous notes during the trials at Dachau. He interrogated many of the SS Officers and encouraged many of the survivors of the death camps to write their stories therein proving the existence of the gas chambers and the crematoriums a fact.
When studying Major Lambert’s notes and his life I was reminded of the quote by Albert Einstein: “The world is a dangerous place to live in, not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who do nothing about it.”
Major Lambert, in his words, speeches and his questioning authority, inspired me to tell his story in dramatic form. I am a strong believer in the power of the theatre as a means ‘to hold a mirror up to nature’ and dramatically change people’s lives.
My research into Lambert’s concerns and questioning of Government officials and moral leaders of that period of the Holocaust led me to connect the dots, and inspired me to write a movie script, and a theater play, based on the life and times of Warren Lambert.
We live during a propitious time in our history. There are deny-ers and revisionists, as well as those who maintain evil in their hearts toward their fellow men that are not of their faith. They are of the assumption that the survivors and the historians are all but deceased therefore they can educate the young that the Holocaust never existed. I was compelled to dramatize the message to encourage men to ‘speak out’ like Warren Lambert did, and not live in fear of political and moral authority figures who can be complicit at times of tragic genocide of an entire body of people.
“The Lambert Chronicles” is a story about ‘who kept silent.’ The art of story-telling can bring us into the minds, souls and beliefs of historical and moral leaders of that time. We, as dramatists, must not be afraid of telling it like it was and is. We have a moral obligation to our audience to tell the truth.
Major Warren Lambert’s words and deeds will live on victoriously immortalized in my screenplay and play, “telling the truth to audiences no matter how tragic.”
George Orwell once stated: “At a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” 2014
Written exclusively for “The Soul of the American Actor.”
VIC PERILLO Writer, Producer, Lecturer – attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and HB Directors program, and at The Actors Studio worked with Gordon Phillips on “Marathon 33” and “The Baby Elephant.” A veteran theatrical agent, he travels across the country to many universities and colleges every year illuminating young people about the entertainment industry.