The Private Life of the Master Race Characters

Bertolt Brecht

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

The S. A. Man

The S. A. Man, whose name is Theo. He is proud of his part in the Nazi movement and enjoys kindling fear among his friends and acquaintances.

The Parlour-Maid

The Parlour-Maid, the S. A. Man’s mistress. She fears her lover and dislikes him because he takes her money from their joint bank account.

The Worker

The Worker, a man named Lincke. He is taunted and frightened by the S. A. Man.

The Social Democrat

The Social Democrat, a man who blames the Communists for Germany’s inability to save itself politically from the Nazis.

The Old Worker

The Old Worker, Herr Sedelmeier, who is forced to say over the radio that his factory is a wonderful place to work.

The Woman Worker

The Woman Worker, Fräulein Schmidt, who is forced to say that the factory is a pleasant place to work.


X and


Y, two German physicists who correspond indirectly with Einstein and fear discovery by the Nazis.

Judith Keith

Judith Keith, a Jew who leaves Germany in 1934 for refuge in Holland.

Judge A

Judge A, Herr Goll. He wants to render a verdict on a Jew but is confused as to whether the Nazis want a verdict of guilty or not guilty.

The Inspector

The Inspector, a man named Tallinger. He is too careful of his own fate to be helpful to the judge.

The Prosecutor

The Prosecutor, an ambitious man named Spitz who gives the judge no help because he would like the place on the bench held by Judge A.

Judge B

Judge B, an elderly friend of Judge A. Judge B is too aware of the dangers in Germany to offer any advice to his friend Judge A.

The Butcher

The Butcher, an old-time Nazi who hangs himself when he realizes that he has been betrayed by the party.


(Great Characters in Literature)

Benjamin, Walter. Understanding Brecht. Translated by Anna Bostock with an introduction by Stanley Mitchell. London: NLB, 1973. Acutely insightful commentary by one of Brecht’s contemporaries and fellow Germans, who in 1940 killed himself rather than fall into the hands of the Gestapo.

Bentley, Eric. The Brecht Commentaries, 1943-1980. New York: Grove Press, 1981. Reviews and articles by Brecht’s principal American translator and champion. Includes essay on The Private Life of the Master Race.

Fuegi, John. Brecht and Company: Sex, Politics, and the Making of the Modern Drama. New York: Grove Press, 1994. Examines Brecht’s output from many angles, with much biographical detail.

Hayman, Ronald. Brecht: A Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983. More than a dozen references to The Private Life of the Master Race dot this large and detailed survey.

Witt, Hubert, ed. Brecht as They Knew Him. Translated by John Peet. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1975. Interesting compilation from the writings of more than thirty associates or commentators.