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February 28, 1964 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1964-02-28

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(Continued from Page 1)
to this issue. They don't know
Joshua Heschel, professor at the play, have never seen it,
the Jewish Theological Semi- most of them have never read
nary; Rabbi Wolfe Kelman, exe- it. They are reacting only to
cutive vice-president of the advance notice about its alleged
Rabbinical Assembly of Ameri- l'indictment' of a Pope."
ca (Conservative); Dr. John C. Author of 'The Deputy'
Bennett, president, Union Theo-
logical Seminary (Protestant); Refused Permission
Dr. Robert MacAfee Brown, to Reside In Basel
professor of religion at Stan-
BASEL, Switzerland, (JTA)
ford University; Gordon Zahn, —Rolf Hochhuth, the German
a professor at Loyola Univers- author of the controversial play,
ity, a Catholic institution, in "The Deputy," which attacks
Chicago; Arthur A. Cohen, au-: Pope Pius XII for failure to de-
thor and editor for the book nounce the mass killing of the
publishing firm of Holt. Rein- Jews by the Nazis, has been re-
hart & Winston; Thomas P. fused permission to continue
McDonnell. book editor of the residing in Basel. He has ap-
Catholic Pilot, Boston; and Mar- pealed to the Basel Cantonal
tin Marty, an editor of Christ- Government against this decis-
ian Century (Protestant).
ion. Last year the Canton of
"Because of the controversy Zug refused Hochhuth permis-
surrounding this play," a state- sion to live there on the
ment issued by the committee grounds that his presence might
said. "we wish to declare our disturb the peace.
united concern that it receive
The Jewish War Veterans
a fair hearing without prior ef- announced that they will not
forts at suppression, intimida- picket the performance of
tion or pre-judgment. Most Rolf Hochhuth's "The Deputy."
basic to our position is the A spokesman for the organi-
guarantee of free speech under zation said: "The JWV has
the Constitution of the United formulated no opinion as to
States, and there is no free the merits or message of 'The
speech where men will not _ deputy,' and will not partici-
listen with open minds. Equally pate in any effort to deter or
important is the right of the prevent its showing." The
individual conscience to reveal play portrays the late Pope
itself without fear of immoder- Pius XII as allegedly failing
ate reaction.
to protest publicly against the
" 'The Deputy' is no ordinary Nazi mass-murder of Jews.
play, dealing as it does with
The National Conference of
the issue of the personal re- Christians and Jews issued a
sponsibility of all men when statement declaring that the
faced with grave mortal as well "crisis" over the controversial
as historical issues. If we pre-
judge or harshly criticize the
actions of the author, how then
can we deny him the equal
right to judge the historical fig-
ures of his play.
"Various productions of 'The
Deputy' in Europe, especially in
Basle, and Paris, have been
greeted with violence and dem-
onstrations of the most serious
nature. This sort of thing must
not happen in our democratic
society. And yet there are
efforts now being undertaken
to achieve discord and even
street demonstrations are being
threatened by various small but
vocal organizations whose in-
fluence and actions in no way
match those of the vast ma-
jority of our people, Catholics,
Jews and Protestants—and all
Americans whose calm readi-
ness to see the play as it exists
and not as some might imagine
it, gives great hope for peace
on the night of February 26.
"However, the people of good
will are often too silent and
that is why we, the undersigned,
take this formal and united
action to plead to everyone to
grant Rolf Hochhuth, the au-
thor of the play, the producer,
Herman Shumlin, and his com-
pany an open and fair hearing
before expressing any opinion
one way or the other. This
present effort of ours is in no
way an endorsement of the
play; nor can it be construed
as a criticism of the play. We
have no opinion one way or
the other for the very reason
that we have not yet seen the
Keating said he is not judg-
ing the American production
but that his reading of the
play in advance led him to the
belief that the drama "raises
questions about the basic, un-
derlying conditions" existing in
the world during the Hitler era.
"Mr. Hochhuth's greatest in-
dictment," he stated, "is against
all men who didn't speak up.
When a great moral issue is in-
volved, men should speak out.
This includes not only the Pope,
who should have spoken out,
but also Jews right here in the
United States, also humanity as
a whole."
He denied that production of
the play would worsen Cath-
olic-Jewish relations in this
country. "Exactly the opposite
will happen," he predicted. "It
will force Catholics to face up



play "can be molded into an
opportunity for increased un-
derstanding rather than hostility
among religious groups if re-
sponse is mature, restrained
and responsible."
Reactions which are deter-
mined "not by feelings of group
loyalty and group defensiveness
but solely by the merits—or
demerits—of the work itself,"
were urged in a "Statement of
Consensus" signed by an inter-
religious group and released by
Dr. Lewis Webster Jones, pres-
ident of the NCCJ. The state-
ment charged Hochhuth with
dealing "one-sidedly" with both
personalities and historic com-
plexities, but finds they play
valuable for posing major ques-
tions of moral responsibility.
Joining in the . discussion of
"The Deputy" on the invitation
of the NCCJ, and signing the
consensus, were Dr. Harvey
Cox, professor of theology at
Andover - Newton Theological
Seminary, Newton Center, Mass;
David Danzig, associate director
of the American Jewish Com-
mittee; Dr. Tom F. Driver, of
the faculty of the Union The-
ological Seminary here, drama
critic for the Protestant week-
ly, Christian Century; Rev. Rob-


ert A. Graham, a Jesuit priest,
associate editor of America, na-
tional Catholic weekly; Rabbi
Abraham Klausner, Dr. Fran-
klin H. Littell, professor of
church history at Chicago The-
ological Seminary, and Dr. Gor-
don C. Zahn, professor of soci-
ology at Loyola University, a
Catholic institution in Chicago.
In a separate statement, Rab-
bi Balfour Brickner, director of
the Commission on Interfaith
Activities of the Union of
American Hebrew Congrega-
tions (Reform), rejected the
suggestion that presentation of
"The Deputy" might damage
Catholic-Jewish relations. He
said the play is not "anti-Cath-
olic." He held that Jewish- ,

Christian relations "have prog-
ressed beyond the level where
we fear to speak our hearts and
minds to one another lest we
offend "

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3-THE DET ROIT JEWISH NEWS—Friday , February 28, 1964

Conflicting Views in Religious Ranks on 'The Deputy'

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