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Oberammergau ‘passion Play’ Insists on Old Anti-semitic Version

Hans Schwaighofer, director of the 1970 Oberammergau Passion Play, has resigned his post because of opposition to his efforts to eliminate anti-Jewish overtones from the scheduled performances.

Deputy Mayor Arthur Haser said yesterday that Mr. Schwaighofer had announced his resignation after being told at a meeting of the village council that most of the 5,000 townsmen had rejected his plan to adopt a substitute for the text that has been used for the last century. His resignation was the most spectacular move in a debate raging in Oberammergau for years. It has stalled preparations for the next performance of the play, which is presented every 10 years.

The old text portrays the Jews as a “fiendish, bloodthirsty people” from whom the “kingdom of God will be taken away.” Mr. Schwaighofer wanted to abandon that text completely, rather than expurgate it as some had preferred.