Religion: Oberammergau's Blood Curse

A famous Passion play opens to a chorus of Jewish criticism

They are perhaps the most chilling words in the New Testament: "His blood be on us and on our children." This verse (Matthew 27: 25), in which Jews seemingly take responsibility for Christ's death, has for centuries been cited as biblical justification for Jewish suffering. With anti-Semitic incidents on the rise in Europe, nervous eyes were steadied last week on the Bavarian Alpine village of Oberammergau (pop. 5,000), where the decennial Passion play, condemned by Jews as anti-Semitic, opened once again with the "blood curse" intact but muted.

The classic folk drama originated in 1634, after villagers vowed to re-enact Christ's...

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