Siberia (drama)

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Original title: Siberia
Genus: Volksstück ( monologue ) in five acts
Original language: German
Author: Felix Mitterer
Publishing year: 1989
Premiere: September 15, 1989
Place of premiere: World premiere of Tyrolean folk theater in Telfs

Siberia is a monologue by Felix Mitterer , which he wrote in Innsbruck in 1989 . Felix Mitterer was inspired by Siegmar Bergelt , to whom the work is also dedicated, when he saw him on stage as an actor in one of his earlier works. The work is written in a stylized dialect in free rhythms.

Historical background

Austria is viewed by the Allies as the first country to be invaded by Hitler. This makes it possible for large circles in Austria to suppress the National Socialist past more easily than Germany. The two major post-war parties (ÖVP, SPÖ) agreed on one point that the disempowerment caused by the Allied occupation and the danger of economic plunder could only be countered with united forces. That meant forgetting the previous hostilities and contradictions, the bloody civil war of 1933, the capitulation to Hitler and the Austrian part in the persecution of the Jews.

Literary era

Following in part on old traditions (Nestroy, Brecht), Austrian authors such as Helmut Qualtinger , Wolfgang Bauer and Felix Mitterer wrote folk pieces after 1945 . These either serve to cope with the National Socialist past or describe the current social reality of marginalized groups.


The work is about an old man who was deported to a home by his family. In his younger years he was a soldier and had to go to Siberia as a prisoner of war. He keeps describing how cold and hard it was there. He compares his current condition with that in Siberia. He often complains and longs for the times with his wife and dog. But his family doesn't want to take him back home, where he loved to be, because he complains about everything and everyone. He is constantly criticizing and interfering everywhere - a real choleric . But over time he realizes why his family doesn't want him back. He pleads with her and he promises to do whatever he is told. He never wants to get involved anywhere again, he just wants to be with the family and always have his dog with him.

He is desperate because nobody is listening to him. He wrote a letter to the Federal President, complaining about the terrible conditions in the nursing home and how badly everyone was treated there. He fights until the Federal President visits him and he can show him everything and speak of his soul. (It doesn't come out if he's just imagining it or if it's really happening).

The 5 acts show the increasing physical decline of the man. At first he can walk around the room, then sit on the bed, and finally just lie motionless.

His last words are: "Agnes, my dear wife, come to my side, dog, lie down at my feet, not much longer, then we will be together on the river bank and run and run."


The entire monologue in Siberia is an indictment and takes up the many abuses that prevail in nursing homes. The main character also uses the words "ghetto" or "totenfabrik" as synonyms for this terrible institution shown in the work. Here the residents of the home are degraded to children and treated like animals: not only neglected, but also beaten, insulted, mocked and brought to rest with injections. Rioters don't stand a chance. The retirees are a nuisance for the nurses, they show no consideration for their feelings, and criticism is not tolerated. You inevitably make it clear to them: “Be happy that you are allowed to be here at all!” The protagonist also soon has to realize that you cannot achieve anything with protest, that you have to submit and thus discard any right to self-determination, because survival in such an institution is only possible through an enormous amount of diplomacy and bribery. The younger generation is also accused of selfishness. They take the apartment and the bankbook of the unruly troublemaker and are happy to finally get rid of him. Very few notice the tragic conditions that actually prevail. “To keep up appearances” is the top priority. And this is also carried out successfully, because actually nobody is really ready to look the sad truth in the eye!