Chapter Five focuses on a special 1934 anniversary Passion Play season, the success of which required a truce between Nazi and Catholic villagers soon threatened by an escalating feud between the local Motorstorm commander and the new Nazi mayor, Raimund Lang. Just before the first performance, Motorstorm troopers even mutinied over their commander’s confrontational activities. Both he and Lang faced danger during the murderous Night of the Long Knives in late June. Nazi leaders did not disrupt the traditional process by which Oberammergau’s actors were chosen, so party members received no preferential treatment, although Mayor Lang moved to control play proceeds in an unpopular way that set up a persistent negative dynamic once the Passion season’s unity had disintegrated into divisive confrontations. The 1934 season itself proceeded without incident, other than Chancellor Hitler’s visit to Oberammergau that thrilled visitors and villagers alike.
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