German theatre offers free seats to anyone wearing swastika
A German theatre is under fire for offering free entry to people wearing Swastika armbands to a play called Mein Kampf – and making those who pay for entry wear the Star of David.
The Staddtheatre in Konstanz opened its satirical production about a young Hitler struggling to make his way onto the Vienna art scene, on April 20th, the anniversary of the dictator’s birthday, saying it wanted “to provoke public debate.”
But it was slammed by locals who complained to the authorities that it was tasteless.
Under German law, the display of Nazi symbols is prohibited and considered a criminal offence.
Ruth Frenk, of the German–Israeli Society published an open letter saying: “The bizarre marketing ploy by the City Theatre of Konstanz is not acceptable. Shall I wear a Jewish star like my parents were forced to?”
Prosecutors in the city say they will now examine whether the theatre's offer met the limitations of freedom of expression or was encouraging Nazism, an offence punishable by imprisonment or a high fine.
The theatre's directors have defended the play saying: “This is a proposal designed to show how easily people can be manipulated."
A spokesman for the theatre added: “The number of people willing to wear a swastika is surprising and frightening."
Christoph Nix, the theatre’s director, told a press conference: “We did not have any intention of hurting Jews, but of breaking a taboo in order to provoke public debate.”
The Mein Kampf play was written by Hungarian playwright George Tabori. The director is Sardar Somonko, a German of Turkish origin, while the cast consists mostly of German actors and actresses, most of whom have years of experience in several theatres throughout Germany as well as on television and film screens.
Among them are Laura Lippmann, Vanessa Radman, Thomas Fritz Jung, Andreas Haase and more.