The Jewess of Toledo tells the legendary and fatal love story of the Christian King Alfonso of Castile with the beautiful Jewess Raquel. In the 12th century, the Christian princes of Europe are preparing a new crusade against Islam, which is also to conquer the Muslim cities of Spain. While the Jews in Spain are using their diplomatic and economic influence to secure peace, they are already being brutally persecuted throughout Europe. In Feuchtwanger's novel not only the interests, problems and world views of the three monotheistic religions collide, but also the devastating nature of (the holy) war, the chance for a dialogue across religions and the reverence for heroism. In this exciting intrigue of love, lust, betrayal and ambition, the questions of our time are constantly resonating.

This 1954 novel asks: what is a hero? Your answer today?

Johan Simons: When Lion Feuchtwanger, as a Jewish writer right after the Second World War, describes not only the ugliness of knighthood, but also its great appeal, then I find this astonishing and courageous and just as important for today. In the Netherlands, there is a debate as to whether streets named after questionable "heroes of the fatherland" should be renamed. In addition, prominent Dutch people with Surinam roots call for a stronger appreciation of the heroes of the black emancipation movement.

How does the story fit to Bochum?

Johan Simons: Feuchtwanger believed in a cross-religious and cross-ideological humanism based on the will to recognize the other in his/her vulnerability. This reminds me of the history of the first generations of miners who developed a strong solidarity across linguistic, cultural or religious differences.

Is this quality still available today?

Johan Simons: Yes. You can still feel this in the Ruhr area, although here too the society is polarizing. When I read in Feuchtwanger’s novel how a Jewish businessman, a Muslim doctor and a Christian priest seek a common connection, then I could say: it is unfashionable –  but for this very reason so important for today.

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  • German with English surtitles
  • Text: after Lion Feuchtwanger
  • Director: Johan Simons
  • #theatre
  • Duration: 3:15h, one break
  • Schauspielhaus
Fri, 14.12.
19:30 - 22:45
+ 18:15 Introduction
few tickets
Sun, 16.12.
17:00 - 20:15
Wed, 26.12.
19:00 - 22:15
few tickets