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Germans Stunned After Seeing Documentary Play on Auschwitz Horrors

A stunned audience left the Volksbuehne Theater here last night after the premiere of “The Investigation,” a documentary play on the horrors of the Auschwitz death camp based on the trial of the 20 Nazi camp officials which concluded in Frankfurt this summer. The play, which was also shown simultaneously in 14 other East and West German theaters, was written by Peter Weiss, a German-born Jew now living in Sweden, who used his own notes on the testimony of the trial which he attended.

While there was no applause at the end of the premiere here, members of the audience stood in groups during the intermission solemnly discussing the play. The play was the subject of extensive controversy over whether it should be presented in Germany. Erwin Piscator, head of the Volksbuehne, advocated its presentation. Newspaper reviews today gave qualified praise to the documentary play and supported Mr. Piscator’s stand in the controversy. “In contrast to all predictions the play has proved its effectiveness on the stage,” the West German newspaper, “Die Welt,” said.

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