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Contemporary history

The artists, the anti-Semites and the festival - The Salzburg Festival 1920 - 1938

Director: Hermann Peseckas , camera: Stefan Sternad


Production: ORFIII & ipFILM


Documentary: 43 min./2020

Scientific advice: Univ. Prof. Dr. Albert Lichtblau


On August 22nd, 1920, at the stroke of six in the evening, the history of one of the most important cultural festivals in the world began with the performance of “Everyman”, staged by the then star director Max Reinhardt (1873-1943), who, together with Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929 ) was responsible for the founding of the Salzburg Festival.


But from the beginning, the festival was accompanied by anti-Semitic attacks on the leading artists; the lifestyle of founder Max Reinhardt, for example, was too extravagant. And the fact that the Jewish artists used Catholic materials for their theater work was anything but welcome.


The anti-Semitism was directed against the artists as well as other Jews who used the area for their summer vacation. As National Socialism grew stronger, the mood became increasingly threatening. With Hitler's invasion of Austria in 1938, the situation for Jewish artists became life-threatening.


On the occasion of “100 Years of the Salzburg Festival”, the documentary is dedicated to the immediate surroundings of the festival from 1920 to 1938. It describes the world of the festival and the artists as well as the approaching political danger, which ultimately resulted in the incorporation of the festival in 1938 by the Nazis resulted. The artists, the anti-Semites and the festivals - The Salzburg Festival 1920-1938

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