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Oberammergau is a town in Bavaria, Germany, famous for its production of a Passion Play since 1634. The town and surrounding area had been struck by the Black Death (bubonic plague) in 1632, and the inhabitants vowed to God to perform the Passion Play every ten years if they were spared the worst ravages of the disease. The play is performed over a five-month period in the first year of each decade, and involves almost every inhabitant of the town in some way. Besides the Passion Play, since 1932 (with breaks during World War II), Oberammergau hosts a 'living' chess game, in which pieces are 'performed' by people.

The anti-Semitic nature of the play drew praise from Adolf Hitler and in more recent years has drawn criticism, particularly from the Anti-Defamation League[1] for its portrayal of Jewish characters. In response to the criticism, some changes were made before the 2000 production.


  1. Hitler, who saw the 1934 presentation, praised it as a "precious tool" in the fight against Jews and Judaism. ADL Accessed June 29, 2007

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