Tragic Recollections of the Holocaust in
Vienna Production of 'Fiddler' .
Attitudes and Rejection of Silence on Crimes
Recalling the Holocaust—Drama Enacted in Vienna nation? How long will people be silent while indignities are being im-
posed upon Jews in Moslem countries?
A special report to the New York Times from Vienna by Ted Szulc,
The debate has assumed a vast scale. In a recent issue of the
published under the heading "Israelis Starred in Viennese 'Fiddler' New York Times, the charge of Christian silence was renewed by one of
Draw Enthralled Yet Uneasy Audiences," should be read very widely. world Jewry's most distinguished scholars, Dr. Robert Gordis. His
VIENNA, Feb. 23 — Thirty-one ing to the thought of performing Clergy's Silence on Black Anti-Semitism
years ago a teen-age girl named Sholem Aleichem in German in To the Editor:
Lya Dulizkaya fled her native Vien- Vienna.
It is clear that the anti-Semitic utterances and actions of a small
na for Palestine with her parents
Miss Dulizkaya, whose mother group of black extremists are not representative of the vast majority
because Hitler had occupied Aus- had been a famous prewar singer of our black fellow citizens. It is equally certain that these manifesta-
tria and it was no longer safe for and diseuse in Vienna, agreed tions of anti-Jewish hostility are increasing in intensity and threaten
Jews to remain here.
rather quickly. Having secretly at- to infect ever larger segments of the community.
Last night, Miss Dulizkaya, now tended Max Reinhardt's classes
There are two ominous aspects of this agitation that have scarcely
a popular Israeli musical comedy here as a young girl—her mother been noted, if at all. Anti-Semitism is, unfortunately, no new disease
actress, stood smiling on the stage was against Lya entering the thea- in the body politic of modern civilization. But the black apostles of
of the Theater and der Wien, ter—her dream had always been to
anti-Semitism are Johnnies-come-lately in this area.
where Mozart once conducted his return in triumph to the Vienna
Hence they are free, both in their words and actions, from the
"Marriage of Figaro" to reap thun- that "once rejected us."
restraints of civilized speech and behavior that characterized the
derous applause from an enthusi-
Mr. Yadin, who was born in "genteel anti-Semitism" of the past before the advent of Hitler. It is
astic, but obviously self-conscious,
Palestine 47 years ago and spoke in his ignoble tradition that they walk.
no German until he later memor-
Along with her Israeli co-star
The. second and even more distressing aspect of the present
ized the Tevye part, thought longer dangerous situation is the reaction—or lack of it—of most of the
Yosef Yadin, she had just com-
Christian community in general and of the official custodians
pleted the first week of perform-
He consulted friends and his of its religious and ethical tradition in particular.
ances in the Vienna production of
"Fiddler on the Roof"—called "An-
Lack of Response
atevka" here—which has become ogist and former Israeli Army
As the group tensions become exacerbated, the silence of the
the hit of the 1969 theater season in chief of staff) and finally decided Christian churches of New York and the nation, of individual ministers,
to come to Vienna "because it was priests and laymen as well as of organized Christian bodies, is deafen-
this still-sophisticated capital.
Miss Dulizkaya, playing Golde, something we must do."
ing. This almost complete lack of response by the spokesmen for the
Miss Dulizkaya came for the re- Judeo-Christian moral tradition, in which I fervently believe, is
and the bearded Mr. Yadin as
Tevye the milkman are the toast of hearsals in December to rediscover particularly tragic in this year of grace.
Vienna. The reviewers cannot find the city she once fled and to bask
It comes two decades after the tragic failure of the Christian
enough words to praise the moving in her new fame. The press lionized church—except for a small group of great-souled Christian heroes and
production, oddly more sentimental her even when the musical was martyrs—to lift its voice against the horrors of the Nazi holocaust.
than the "Fiddler" that is on Broad- still in rehearsals, and one day she
It comes a year ands half after May 1967, when the misrulers
found the elderly superintendent's
wife in the building where the of the Arab states boldly announced their intention to annihilate the
The Deeper Meaning
state of Israel and destroy its , people. Then, too, most Christian leaders
But to all concerned—the Israeli Dulizkaya family lived three de- remained mute, and broke into loud protests only after Israel miracul-
stars, the Vienna newspaper re- cades ago.
ously escaped its threatened extinction.
The old woman broke into tears,
viewers and the Viennese public—
Now for the third time within living memory the specter of
it was not just the play and the embraced her and said: "Thank
artistic success that counted, but God, they forgot to put you in the active anti-Semitism has raised its head. Once again the spokesmen
remain silent, as though the confrontation is a contest
the meaning of presenting, on an oven .. ."
Austrian stage, the tale of pogrom.
A foreigner watching the full- between the black and Jewish communities, of no interest to any-
For this still is a city of grim house audience one night this week one outside.
Thus Christian leaders in the post-Nazi era continue to make the
memories, a ciiy where wartime could not escape the sense of self-
guilt has not yet vanished 31 years consciousness pervading the tiered egregious blunder of regarding anti-Semitism as a Jewish issue and
not as a Christian and human problem of massive dimensions. Their
after the Nazi Anschluss, even theater.
though the Austrians nowadays
The men and the women especial- silence justifjes the cynical observation that the only thing we learn
tend to say they were an occupied ly those in their middle years. from history is that we learn nothing from history.—Robert Goris, Pro-
country, not a collaborator nation. seemed careful not to laugh too fessor of Bible, Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, Jan. 24, 1969.
A short time thereafter, a great libertarian, another eminent
Once a great center of Jewish soon at a joke and not quite sure
intellectual life—the home of Sig- just when to applaud. It was barely scholar, the Catholic leader the Rev. Edward J. Flannery, replied
mund Freud, Stefant Zweig and perceptible, but there were frac- and made some concessions to Dr. Gordis' charge. Dr. Flannery wrote:
Fritz Kreisler among many others tion of seconds that seemed inor- `Silence' of Christians
—Vienna now has no more than dinately long and responses that To the Editor:
In the Middle Ages, when Jews were forced to listen to Christian
10,000 Jews. There were 200,000 in were just a shade this side of spon-
sermons, some of the more imaginative listeners stuffed cotton in
1938. Viennese reactions to Jews taneous. There were tears.
are studied and careful.
But Vienna reviewers of "Anate- their ears to produce the desired silence. One wonders if the practice
It was in this atmosphere that vka," which takes its name from has not survived in our own time when one hears so many charges of
Rolf Kutschera, the director of the the town where the musical takes silence in the churches from Jewish—but also Christian—observers
of the Jewish-Christian scene.
jewel-like Theater 'an der Wien, place, have been direct.
' Prof. Robert Gordis in a letter to The Times (Jan. 30) charged
conceived bringing "Fiddler" to
The critic for Die Presse wrote:
Vienna, at a considerable expense "We know what indescribably cruel Christian leadership with silence both during the Six-Day War and
because, theoretically, the German- fate was reserved to the successors more recently on the emergence of black anti-Semitism. He termed
language rights to the musical are of whom Sholem Aleichem wrote the silence "deafening." Will Maslow is quoted in a news story on
blocked until next year by German . . . and that's what frightens us Jewish-Negro relations (Jan. 26), as leveling a similar charge.
producers who put it on in Ham- when we catch ourselves applaud- Israel Defended
I should like to point out that during the Six-Day War several
burg and West Berlin.
ing just because the choreography
When Mr. Kutschera decided to is so splendid, or when we smile at Christian leaders spoke out very clearly in defense of Israel, including
produce "Fiddler" this year, his an outlook on life that, in its fatal- Richard Cardinal Cushing, Bishop Paul J. Hamilton of Atlanta, the
friend Yoram Harel, a Vienna- ism, contributed to let unprecedent- Catholic Peace Society, the present writer, and several others. Since
then their statements have been widely publicized by Jewish writers.
based Israeli artists' manager, ed horror become reality."
As for black anti-Semitism, the American Bishops' Secretariat for
came up with the idea that Israeli
The Kurier said:
stars should be brought here to
"During and,after the perform- Catholic-Jewish Relations issued a statement last November evaluating
status of Jewish-Christian relations at the present time, which
ance I anxiously put the question
One day last spring, Mr. Harel to myself whether it was permissi- referred very directly to black anti-Semitism.
Among other matters the statement, pointing to the emergence
telephoned Miss Dulizkaya in Tel ble after the holocaust to play such
Aviv — she played in the Israeli a comparatively harmless tragedy. of antagonism to Jews among blacks, paid tribute to contributions
production of "Fiddler"—and Mr. Bill the question can be answered of Jews to civil rights and warned that unless the rights and dignity
Yadin, who was busy singing Fal- in the affirmative. Today's Ana- of every group and individual are respected, those of none are safe.
staff and had never even seen tevka is anywhere in the world Catholic Spokesmen
The statement was sent to all wire services and was reported at
Tevye on the stage.
where minorities are persecuted.
As both Miss Dulizkaya and Mr. Being a reminder of this, gives the least in the Catholic press and was widely circulated in the Jewish
It was reprinted by one major Jewish organization and was
Yadin told the story the other eve- play its raison d'etre."
ning after a performance, each re-
The Communist newspaper Volks- included in the Newsletter of the Synagogue Council of America. This
the Bishops' Secretariat as well as the words of the
acted with a touch of soul-search- stimme titled its review, "Ana-
Catholic spokesmen during the Six-Day War were made well within
tevka, Mon Amour."
earshot of Professor Gordis, Will Maslow and other critics who have
What sad reminders are inherent in this report! And how timely made similar charges.
it is in an era of forgetfullness!
There can be no question that the churches have been too silent
When liberty loving people protest against evidences of bigotry in with respect to the dangers and difficulties of the Jewish
universities, or other spheres, they are accused of creating an atmos- both throughout the world and here in America. This fact, community
phere of hysteria. There are so many who advise forgetting: why rake entitles no one to ignore or minimize that which has been said or done.
up old hatreds, they say—labeling a reminder of the barbarism as
The charge of silence in such matters is a serious one. Anyone
hatred. Whose hatred? That's what must be recalled in order that what who raises his voice on the subject owes it to his listeners to have
had happened should not happen again.
looked thoroughly into the facts of the matter. If he fails to do so, will
Indifference always led to acquiescence to renewal of bigotry and it or not, he only contributes further setbacks to Jewish-Christian
barbarism and brutality. The Vienna play admonishes against indiffer- dialogue.—(Rev.) Edward H. Flannery, Executive Secretary, American
ence. 11 is by remembering Amalek that we can prevent the emergence Bishops' Secretariat for Catholic-Jewish Relations, Seton Hall Univer-
of New Amaleks.
sity. Orange, N. J., Feb. 1, 1969.
Very soon after Dr. Flannery had expressed his views, another
The 'Silence o
nti-Semitism': The Christian Voice
distinguished Christian, the Pittsburgher Dr. Donald W. Mcllvane.
Once again, in the 1930s and the 1940s, during the European complimented Fr. Flannery but took a stand in support of the more
tragedy that resulted in the death of many millions at the hands of critical view of Dr. Gordis. He wrote:
barbarians, and in the era when medievalism played a role in efforts Clerics' Silence on Anti-Semitism
to prevent the rebirth of Jewish statehood, there is a debate over the To the Editor:
role that is played by Christians in the re-emerging anti-Semitism.
Father Edward Flannery's letter (Feb. '7) is a genuine contribu-
Are Christians blind to reality in the issue involving the Middle tion to understanding in the present Jewish-Christian tensions in New
East? Are they calloused to Arab threats to exterminate the Israeli York City, which are also felt elsewhere throughout the country.
2—Friday, March 7, ,1969
THE : DETROIT. JEWISH. JAWS
He rightly puts in better perspective the "silence of Christians"
by, listing some of the. things .said by Christian leaders. I have only
the greatest admiration for Father
Flannery in his work. I was deeply
affected by his classic work "The
Anguish of the Jews."
However, the statements of a few
men in the church must not ob-
scure the fact that the great ma-
jority of Christian leaders have
indeed been silent.
Here in Western Pennsylvania a
reasonable estimate would be that
in no more than one out of every
10 Christian churches has there
been a strong sermon on Christian-
Jewish relations during the past
10 years. My own Catholic Church
issued a magnificent document at
the Second Vatican Council, "On
the Relationship of the Church to
Despite the undoubted goodwill
of the bishops in this area, there
are very few parishes where ser-
mons have been preached on this
document. Parishioners who did
not read the press would never
know that it existed.
All hail Father Flannery and his
noble effort—but Rabbi Robert
Gordis' charges on the silence of
Christians are still substantially
true. If Christians in New York
and elsewhere can recognize this
truth, then they will have profited
from the present agony in New
York City.—(Rev.) Donald W.
Mcllvane, Pittsburgh, Pa., Feb. 13,
This discussion merits attention
in wider quarters, and the interest
that attaches to it is the emanation
of some sort of an assurance that
Christians will speak, that there
will be a rejection of silence, that
every display of bigotry will be
Perhaps we can't expect such
action from the so-called Good-Will
Movement: the National Confer-
ence of Christians and Jews. There
was another Brotherhood Week
and so few heard about it that the
NCCJ now suffers renewed scru-
tiny. But there are many Chris-
tians who are outraged by bias and
discrimination, when it is practiced
against ' Jews, blacks and others
who need the entire community to
become interested in just causes.
In the instance of the outrage-
ously hate - provoking lecture at
Oakland University, two weeks
ago, for example, it was vital that
not Jews but Christians—and the
speak out and express their revul-
sion over lies spoken by a college
professor. Perhaps the issue raised
by the scholars Gordis, Flannery
and McIlvane will serve the pur-
pose of arousing a determination
not to permit injustice, indignity
and The Lie again to emerge in all
* * *
Terrorism: Examples of
'Heroism' in Attacks
on Civilians in Israel
When terrorists risk entering
an "enemy" camp they are, of
course, heroes to their compatriots.
But they are as much heroes as
a man who murders a Presidential
candidate: because in a democracy,
whether it is in the United States
or in Israel, it is so easy to get
near a public figure !
But there is also the factor in-
volving the governments in whose
behalf the terrorists speak. When
the Nassers and the Hussein
feign a role of civilized beings
they prove their hypocrisy by ap-
proving murders of civilians in
supermarkets, in university cafe-
terias, in bus stations.
When the Big Four get together
to discuss Israel's status and the
conditions in the Middle East in
the atmosphere of unfriendliness
and injustice to Israel
UN whence have come so' many
prejudices against Israel ! — let
these facts be remembered: that
the Arab rulers are responsible
for the uncivilized acts perpetrated
against Israel !