The Deputy was a 1963 play supposedly written by Rolf Hochhuth, a playwright who lacked a high school diploma. The basic idea of the play was that Pope Pius XII was an anti-semitic, Nazi collaborator.
The play was first produced in Eastern Europe almost three years after its premiere at the National Theatre in Belgrade in Yugoslavia in January 1966 and at the National Theatre in Bratislava in Czechoslovakia on February 12, 1966. The first production in East Germany took place on February 20, 1966 at Greifswald Theatre.
The Deputy has been produced in more than 80 cities worldwide since. In the English-speaking world, the play has since been revived by the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow in 1986 and at the Finborough Theatre, London, in August 2006.
Recent investigations have described the KGB's efforts to discredit the Church's authority in Western Europe after World War II, which focussed on Pius XII, and it now appears that The Deputy emerged from the cloud of influence of the Soviet intelligence apparatus. In 1963, General Ivan Agayants, the famous chief of the KGB’s disinformation department, told his allied Romanian intelligence agents in Bucharest that a project known as "Seat-12" had materialized into a powerful play attacking Pope Pius XII.
Agayants took credit for the outline of the play, and claimed that it had voluminous appendices of background documents put together by his experts with help from documents purloined from the Vatican. Agayants also claimed that The Deputy's producer, Erwin Piscator, was "a devoted Communist who had a longstanding relationship with Moscow. In 1929 he had founded the Proletarian Theater in Berlin, then sought political asylum in the Soviet Union when Hitler came to power, and a few years later had "emigrated" to the United States.
In 1962 Piscator had returned to West Berlin to produce The Deputy. Before writing The Deputy, Hochhuth was working in various inconspicuous capacities for the Bertelsmann publishing house, and was not known to be a budding writer or playwright.
- Hetty Burgers: Die "Stellvertreter"-Rezeption in der DDR. Zur Rezeption der einen deutschen Literatur im anderen Deutschland. In: Ideologie und Literatur(wissenschaft). Hrsg. von Jos Hoogeveen und Hans Würzner. Amsterdam: Rodopi 1986, p. 189.
- Harenberg Schauspielführer. Die ganze Welt des Theaters: 265 Autoren mit mehr als 750 Werken. Dortmund: Harenberg 1997. P. 486.
- Ion Mihai Pacepa, "Moscow’s Assault on the Vatican", National Review Online, 25 January 2007.
- Television and DVD documentary: A Hand of Peace: Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust copyright 2008, Salt + Light Television Productions, 2009 Ignatius Press www.ignatius.com 1-800-651-1531.
- National Review Online, "Moscow’s Assault on the Vatican:The KGB made corrupting the Church a priority," Ion Mihai Pacepa, January 25, 2007