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Play Opposed by Jewish Groups Postponed Until Nov. 13

November 4, 1985

FRANKFURT, West Germany (AP) _ The opening of a Rainer Werner Fassbinder play that had its premiere scuttled by Jewish demonstrators last week has been postponed until Nov. 13, city authorities announced Sunday.

The premiere had been rescheduled for Monday night, four days after angry Jews occupied a Frankfurt public theater stage and forced the cancellation of the opening performance.

However, Frankfurt theater superintendent Guenter Ruehle said Sunday that it was decided to delay the premiere again to allow a ″cooling-off period.″

In Tel Aviv, Israel, Mayor Shlomo Lahat telephoned the deputy mayor of Frankfurt, Hilmer Hoffmann, Sunday and urged him to prevent the staging of the play.

Ruehle rejected charges by Jews, Christian church groups and some local politicians that the late Fassbinder’s play, ″Der Muell, Die Stadt und der Tod″ (Garbage, The City and Death) was anti-Semitic.

It is about a Jewish land speculator in Frankfurt who buys old residential housing, tears it down and sells the property at a profit to developers who build high-rise building.

Part of the dialogue involves a low-income man affected by the buyouts who says, ″He sucks us dry, the Jew. He drinks our blood . ... If he had stayed where he came from, or if we had gassed him, I could sleep better today.″

Some six million Jews were killed during World War II by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime.

The play generated weeks of debate between opponents of censorship and others who claimed that the play would revive German anti-Semitism.

Hundreds of members of Frankfurt’s Jewish community, some of them survivors of Nazi concentration camps, demonstrated noisily outside the premiere playhouse Thursday night.

About 25 occupied the stage as the play was about to begin and refused to move, forcing the premiere to be canceled.

Ruehle said a rehearsal for the news media remained scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Fassbinder, a critically acclaimed West German playwright and film director, died in 1982.