German prosecutors launched an investigation into a theater after it offered free tickets to playgoers who wear a Nazi swastika armband to the opening of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf," The Daily Mail reported.
The play, based on Hitler's most famous work, will open on the Nazi leader's birthday at the City Theater on Friday in Konstanz, Germany. George Tabori, the play's writer, describes the production as a satire of the dictator's early life.
"This day has a symbolic effect, the date is provocative, but we'll see, I hope nothing bad happens, we're definitely prepared," the play's director, Serdar Somuncu the Kultblatt, said.
The theater plans to give the armbands to attendees at the door.
Prosecutors in the city of Konstanz learned of the theater's offer after it received numerous complaints. With few exceptions, displaying the symbol is illegal under German laws.
The theater said on its website that those unwilling to don a swastika would be asked to wear a Star of David "as a sign of solidarity with the victims of barbarism."
What did the theater say?
A spokesperson for the theater has called the request a social experiment to show "how easily people can be corrupted," USA Today reported.
"Our production is directed by one of Germany’s foremost political satirists and controversial public figure, Turkish-born artist Serdar Somuncu. Mr. Somuncu has chosen to have his production start at the point of purchasing the tickets," theater spokesman Dr. Daniel Morgenroth told Newsweek. "The concept ties in with the performance itself which is highly controversial and repeatedly links Tabori’s material with our current time of rising nationalism, populism and xenophobia all over Europe. Our performance wants to show people that it is up to them to decide on which side to stand — concretely, always and not just with warm words."
How many took the theater up on its offer?
About 50 people expressed interest displaying the symbol for a free ticket, according to a spokesperson at the theater.
The theater reportedly said it was "surprising and frightening" the number of people who were willing to take the offer.
Authorities will determine whether or not the theater's offer falls under the freedom of artistic expression, according to USA Today.