Israel’s national theater asked to perform in Nazi Germany, telegram reveals
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Israel’s national theater asked to perform in Nazi Germany, telegram reveals

Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels accepted inquiry of Jewish actors, who made it to the country before learning the gig had been cancelled

The Habima plaza (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90)
The Habima plaza (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90)

Israel’s national theater sent a letter to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels requesting to perform in Germany just a year before Kristallnacht, a recently discovered telegram has revealed.

Goebbels had penned an article in the German press in the 1920s in which he praised the Habima National Theater in Mandatory Palestine, according to Channel 2, which received a copy of the correspondence between the Hebrew troupe’s producers and the propaganda minister.

Having come across the column from their unexpected fan, Habima sent a telegram to Goebells in 1937, hoping to land a gig in the country then run by Hitler.

“The Honorable Minister Goebbels,” the correspondence began. “The Hebrew National Theater, the Habimah Theater from Palestine, will be arriving in Paris for the national fair in October and asks permission to be hosted by the Culture Society in Berlin for two weeks from November 3. Please send your response.”

Goebbels responded positively and booked the Habima troupe to perform in Germany. The actors packed their bags and made it all the way to the train station in Germany where another telegram awaited them from Hermann Goering, another top Nazi leader, who notified the Hebrew performers that their performance had been cancelled at the last minute. The troupe then traveled on to their next host country.

The telegram was revealed as Habima marks its 100th anniversary and will be on public display in an exhibition at the Tel Aviv theater this week.

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