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Fassbinder Play to Premier in Holland

A controversial play by the late Rainer Werner Fassbinder in which one of the major characters is known as “The Rich Jew,” will have its European premier in Rotterdam Nov. 18 and will then tour other Dutch cities, but not Amsterdam.

Charges of anti-Semitism have dogged the play, which is titled “Garbage, the City and Death.” Its premier at Frankfurt’s Kammerspiel theater Oct. 31, 1985, was canceled after about 30 members of the local Jewish community occupied the stage and held up banners to the audience that read “Subsidized Anti-Semitism.”

On Nov. 2, a private performance was given for critics in Frankfurt in an attempt to defuse accusations that the play was anti-Semitic. Theater manager Gunter Ruhle conceded afterward that it could not be presented in Frankfurt.

But last year it was staged in New York, which paved the way for performances in Europe, beginning in Holland. The premier was to have been held in Amsterdam’s Frascati theater, but the directorate objected.

Martin Schouten, a columnist writing in the newspaper De Volksktant Wednesday, criticized the theater for refusing it, charging “intolerable censorship.”

The producer of the Dutch version is Johan Doesburg, a young graduate of the Theatrical Academy. The role of “The Rich Jew” will be played by Albert Blitz, an actor of Jewish origin.

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