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Anti-semitism Omitted in ‘passion Play’ Rehearsals in Oberammergau

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A leading citizen of Oberammergau, the Alpine village which is the site of the decennial performance of the famous passion play, has won a long fight for removal of anti-Semitic references from the drama which depicts the death of Jesus. The village council was reported here today as having voted to let the director of the next performance, scheduled for 1970, use a recently discovered text for the play, written by a Benedictine monk in 1750, instead of the version employed since 1860, written by a local priest.

The fight had been carried on by Hans Schwaighofer, headmaster of the state wood-carving school in the village. He is the man designated to act Judas in 1970, and previously appointed as director of the next performance. He objected to the 1860 version because it contains threats against the Jewish people for their alleged decide and is, he insisted, out of line with the Catholic Church’s recently promulgated decree which repudiates the charge of the collective guilt of the Jews for the death of Jesus. The older version of 1750 refers to allegorical figures, and not to Jews, depicting worldly evil.

In deference to Mr. Schwaighofer’s drive, the village council voted to permit him to start rehearsals for the 1970 performance along the lines of the 1750 text. The council decided it would make a final decision on the issue in 1968, after viewing a dress rehearsal of the play to be done without the anti-Semitic references.

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