Rolf Hochhuth


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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hochhuth, Rolf

 

Born Apr. 1, 1931, in Eschwege. German dramatist and publicist (Federal Republic of Germany).

In the drama The Deputy (1963), Hochhuth unmasked the complicity of Pope Pius XII and the Vatican in the fascist atrocities of World War II. The central theme of Hochhuth’s dramaturgy is the moral responsibility of the individual invested with authority and power; but this specific historical focus is gradually supplanted by an abstract moral orientation. Soldiers (1967), which also deals with the events of World War II, is at the same time a protest against the US aggression in Vietnam. Guerrillas (1970) treats the Utopian idea that the infiltration of the US government by revolutionaries is the only way to implement democratic changes in that country from above. The Midwife, a comedy, is pervaded by motifs of social criticism. The play Lysistrata and NATO (1973) offers a light comical solution to the struggle of the Greek people against NATO military bases.

A publicist, Hochhuth also writes on urgent topical problems, for example, in the collection War and Class War (1971).

WORKS

Der Stellvertreter. Berlin, 1965. (Foreword by E. Piscator.)
In Russian translation:
Berlinskaia Antigona. In Novyi mir, 1966, no. 8.

REFERENCES

El’vin, I. “Bunt protiv ’Namestnika.’” Nauka i religiia, 1964, no. 5.
Knipovich, E. “Ob umenii ’dumat’ vpered.’” Inostrannaia literatura, 1969, no. 3.
Gebhardt, H. “Nur Auseinandersetzung mit der Vergangenheit?” Theater der Zeit, 1966, no. 8.

A. V. KAREUSKII

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The claims were made by Rolf Hochhuth, a German and author of a 1963 play called "The Deputy" in which Pius was depicted as a coward who did not stand up to Adolf Hitler.
In the play, the heroic character Father Riccardo declares, "A deputy of Christ who sees these things and nonetheless permits reasons of state to seal his lips that pope is a criminal." Authored by Rolf Hochhuth, an unknown 31-year-old playwright who had belonged to the Hitler Youth, the play was brought to the stage by its legendary and by then elderly Jewish director, Erwin Piscator, and Leo Kerz, a Jewish refugee and The Deputy's costume and set designer.
But Deschner's portrait of a commercialized church and a calculating Pius XII corresponds more closely to the fictional account found in Rolf Hochhuth's 1963 play The Deputy than to historical truths.
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