Interwar Period

Due to postwar confusions and the economic problems resulting from it, the passionplay of 1920 had to be cancelled and can not be retrieved until 1922. Despite a bullish mood and the feeling of a new beginning in Germany and also in Oberammergau the struggling for a revised text version of the passion play does not succeed. Maybe it's because the newly voted, only 33-year old, director George Johann Lang is more interested in aesthetic than contentwise questions. The rush to the play of 1922 is unexpected high and the incomes accordingly. But the inflation destroyes the profit for the most part. Nevertheless the municipality did decide not to assume one of the seven filming offers, which in-arrived since beginning of the year 1920, although the offers amount up to converted 14 billion Marks.
1930 Johann George Lang developes a comprehensive new staging.[1 ] Over the course of that he sketches a completely new stage and charges the architect and later mayor Raimund Lang to put up the first solidly built stage. In retrospect Otto Huber means: "The style of the stage was modern and at the same time `Nazi-like'. The large horizontal line is very impressiv, but the gesture of this architecture is nevertheless: You are small and I am large. This is the opposite of the christian message. It seems as if the religious theological questions became secondarily to art questions."[2] That Oberammergau with this staging is again at the height of the time, reveals itself at the fact that even directors like Max Reinhardt or Charles Dullin pronounce her admiration.[3 ]
"At a show in August a man with pale face, brown-reddish hair and a small moustache on the furrow of the upper lip sat in the passion theatre. He carried a trench coat and was accompanied by some men. After the play his friend Helene Bechstein brought him in the publishing house Lang where he was introduced and invited for tea. {...} The man was called Adolf Hitler.

Four years later in 1934 this man already was in power. This year was the tricentennial of the Oberammergauer passion vow, which is why a jubilee play was initiated. Whether and how far Oberammergau defends itself against the pocketing by the new politics of Germany, can be proved hardly today. But one thing is sure: The powerful exploited Oberammergau. The advertisement poster for 1934 shows the mountain-surrounded passion village from which a cross rises which is flowed round by light. The posters intended for the foreign country must carry by the will of the imperial propaganda ministry the label ‘Germany calling ’. Adolf Hitler calls Oberammergau, beside Bayreuth, the exponents of the German cultural life. [4] In the press the ideological pocketing is continued: „The three centuries of the passion play teach us that the loyalty between blood and ground is the hold strength of all folklore .... ” [5]
The church positions itself against this kind of pocketing of the passion plays by the political rulers and gives the Missio canonica, the official teaching competence of the church to Oberammergau.
But also within the passion play the ‚new mind ’ becomes visible: Thus Adam is equipped in a living picture with a German spade. Easy delitions prove suddenly clear anti-semitic statements. For example, the choral text to the living picture ‚Josef and his brothers‘ is shortened by the last stanza in which God's rage on the brothers of Josef and his people in general is neutralized: „He(Jesus) does not come to ruin, from the father's magnificence, all sinners should inherit, mercy, grace and bliss.”
After 1934 an order of a revised version of the passion plays goes out to the dramatist Leo Weismantel (1888 - 1964)[6] which is, nevertheless, pulled back again. The propaganda ministry explained the plays in preparation for 1940 for ‚reichswichtig‘ (of high importance for the nation). Nevertheless the passion play of 1940 must be called off because of outbreak of war.