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Germany

Jewish Theater Opens in Berlin

Berlin's first Jewish theater since the end of the Holocaust opened its doors over the weekend with a production by an Israeli playwright. The 120-seat theater called Bamah, Hebrew for stage, is housed in a former cinema in the German capital's upscale Charlottenburg district and specializes in traditional eastern European productions as well as contemporary Israeli drama. "This is not intended to be a theater by Jews for Jews with Jews," said the Israeli-born director of Bamah, Dan Lahav, at the opening late Saturday. "Bamah is intended for everyone interested in Jewish culture." The opening featured the play "Vienna at Sea" by Edna Mazya, which tells the story of a group of Jews vacationing in 1938 as they learn Hitler has annexed Austria. Bamah began as a German-language theater troupe in Berlin in 2001 but only acquired its own playhouse this autumn, following the lead of similar groups in the northern German cities of Hamburg and Rostock. Before the Holocaust, Berlin was host to a thriving Jewish theater scene in the district near the Alexanderplatz square in the eastern part of the capital. The city boasted 20 Yiddish-language theaters until the outbreak of World War II. (AFP)

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