French Police Consider Closing Down Controversial Play ‘the Deputy’

Due to repeated rioting in the theater, police may close down the performances of “The Deputy,” the drama by German playwright Rolf Hochhuth which accuses the late Pope Pius XII of failing to intervene against Hitler’s slaughter of European Jewry.

For the fourth time, last night, violent brawls broke out in the theater while the performance was on. Abusive shouts, stink bombs and other demonstrations interrupted the action and, at one time, some members of the audience leaped onto the stage, fighting with the actors. Twenty persons were arrested as a result of these demonstrations Friday night, and 28 were detained by the police the night before.

Cardinal Felton, Archbishop of Paris, defended the demonstrators by inference in a statement last night in which he denounced the play as a “caricature” leveling “gratuitous accusations” against the late Pontiff. “Who can fail to understand,” he asked, “that a Catholic should feel wounded at the insult done to the memory of his father?”

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