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Controversial Play ‘the Deputy’ Opens in Paris; Police on Alert

The first performance in Paris of Rolf Hochhut’s controversial play, “The Deputy,” dealing with the late Pope Pius XII and European Jews under the Nazi dictatorship, opened here last night in an atmosphere of relative calm. Performances in other European cities have sparked picketing and demonstrations.

Police said that a handful of demonstrators in the audience, who distributed leaflets, interrupted the performance “only five times” before they were evicted by plainclothes police and other members of the audience. The theme of the play is that the late Pontiff failed to speak but against the Nazi wartime slaughter of European Jewry.

Officials of the theater expressed fears that if the demonstrations continued at future performances, they might provoke counter-demonstrations which in turn might prompt authorities to ban the play in the interests of public peace. The leaflets, signed “Prop Pio,” contained statements favorable to the late Pontiff by Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, and by the Chief Rabbis of Rome and Bucharest.