Forced by the Nazis in 1933 to flee Germany, Rudolf Nelson obtains a
guest engagement at the Ronacher Theater in Vienna through a theater-agent
friend. For the occasion, he recrutes a new troupe which inclues Max
Ehrlich as guest star.
However, anti-Semitism also is rampant in Vienna, so that, even prior
to the opening, the Ronacher's director, Bernhard Labriola, receives
anonymous letters warning him to "cancel his show of Berlin Jews".
Nazis then interrupt the April 17th premier.
As Max Ehrlich begins speaking, the first hissing and whistling
immediately begin. Ehrlich is irritated; but he continues talking and
doesn't let the hooligans stop him ... whereupon loud howling, screaming
and booing breaks out.
Numerous persons from the audience - afraid of what
will happen next - flee the theater. The performance is ended, and
rioting accompanied by screams of "Jews out! Jews out!" fills the
With that, the centuries old Vienese tradition of
"Live and let live" has come to an abrupt end."
By the third evening,
the already enormous police detail already assigned to the theater is
increased to 200 uniformed officers. However, despite this, there are
serious interruptions and altercations amongst the spectators forcing
the show as well as the troupe's entire engagement to end early.
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