Worms “Niebelungen Christmas Market © Michael Debets (shutterstock)
A nativity play in Worms is a source of controversy. The Lutheran congregation is at odds with the city. It is about a special nativity play that Christians perform at the Christmas market. What's behind them?
Interviewer: What is this special nativity scene?? Tell me, what is this about??
Fritz Delp (pastor of the Lutheran parish of Worms): We say "No to anti-Semitism and misanthropy" and then take turns speaking a sequence of different quotes from Hannah Arendt to our German President Steinmeier. There are also Bible quotations that prove that misanthropy and anti-Semitism are not an option in our society, in our country.
Interviewer: That is, it is not an ordinary Nativity play with a story being played out?
Delp: No, it is not. It is also called alternative nativity play and we have been performing it for five years now.
Interviewer: What did the city suddenly?
Delp: Suddenly the city thinks it is an unwanted political action that disturbs the peace at the Christmas market. One must say in addition: We were strengthened in our contents by a small prehistory. A few days ago the NPD rented a booth on the Christmas market for one day to distribute propaganda material for the so-called Day of the German Future, which they terribly want to spend next year in Worms. And that's when we realized how explosive, how topical this ie is. This has encouraged us to do it in this form.
Interviewer: So the city has something against it. What are now the reactions of the other people to this dispute?
Delp: So far I have received only positive feedback, be it from city councils, be it from neighboring parishes or even from supra-parish institutions. In the meantime, our regional church has also expressed its opinion and given us its clear support.
Interviewer: The city has threatened a fine if the nativity play is performed again. Tomorrow it is actually on the agenda. Now the question is: Will it be performed anyway or not?
Delp: Yes, of course. We will not be intimidated! We wait to see what the reaction will be. In the meantime, the city has ensured by its reaction that we experience a nationwide media echo, and that will then also be present tomorrow at the Christmas market. And we will perform our nativity play there. This is a church event, which is again application nor approval required.
Interviewer: Why is it so important, especially now at Christmas time, to show the flag and make a statement here??
Delp: It's so important because the city of Worms renamed the Christmas market Nibelungen-Weihnacht in a marketing campaign. And then you don't have to be surprised when the very groups that refer to these traditions want to take advantage of that and settle there. And we want to counteract this.
The interview was conducted by MIchelle Olion.