NEW YORK, (Oct. 29)
A screening of the controversial film, “California Reich,” was violently disrupted last night when over the Harold Clurman Theater, smashed the projector and ripped the film. Jack Garfein, director of the showcase on West 42nd Street, told police that the demonstrators terrorized the audience and assaulted stage manager Jerry Bihn.
The film, a documentary produced independently by Walter F. Paskes and Keith Critchlow, focuses an the thoughts, personalities and private lives of a group of American Nazis in California to try to determine why these people are drawn to the Nazi cult. It opened at the Clurman Theater last week as a companion piece to Eugene Ionesco’s anti-Nazi play, “The Lesson.”
According to Garfein, an Auschwitz survivor who lost his family there, the demonstrators paid admission and sat among the audience of about 70. As the film was about to come on, some of them leaped on the stage, shouting “Down with the Nazi party” and “Death to Fascists.” They over-tu7rned sets. A second group raided the projection booth where they pinned Bihn to the wall while attempting to destroy the projector and film.
The vandals left before police arrived. Later in the vandals left before police arrived. Later in the evening an anonymous telephone caller to the Associated Press claimed responsibility for the incident for the “Revolutionary Socialist League and Committee Against Racism.” The nature of the organization was not immediately known. The screening of “California Reich” was resumed after a 45-minute delay with a second print. The documentary is scheduled to be shown tonight on Channel 13, the Public Broadcasting System television outlet in the New York area.