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Munich Deputy Mayor Says Priest Studying Passion Play Text for Changes

The deputy mayor of Munich, Artur Haser, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that a priest has been studying the controversial text of the Bavarian Passion Play to determine whether there was anything in it that could be called anti-Semitic, The charge has been made repeatedly against the version used in the Bavarian village of Oberammergau where it is presented every ten years.

The American Jewish Congress recently renewed a call for absolute of the next scheduled presentation in 1970, charging that the villagers had refused to alter its “viciously anti-Semitic” text, The deputy mayor said the priest, Stephan Scheller, had been studying the text for six months and would submit his proposals for changes by next September at the latest. The deputy mayor added that he thought “certain changes will be made.”

Another source, Michael Hoeck, an assistant to Julius Cardinal Doepfner, Archbishop of Munich, said that the text had been changed but gave no details other than that it had to be “brought into accord” with the new position of the Vatican Council which approved a declaration repudiating the charge of decide against the Jewish people in the crucifixion of Jesus, which is the theme of the Passion Play. The assistant added that the text had been changed, not because of the American Jewish Congress call for a boycott of the 1970 performance, but to conform with the Vatican Council position. He said the boycott call was unjustified.

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