Woman's outrage as Nazi salutes made during Rocky Horror Show at Leicester theatre
A woman whose father was held in a concentration camp was outraged as some theatre-goers shouted "Sieg Heil" and made Nazi salutes during a film.
Katherine Horkheimer-Wolfe said the behaviour during a sing-a-long version of the Rocky Horror Show Picture Show movie, hosted by Curve theatre, was "utterly revolting, insensitive and abhorrent".
The production included a presenter who encouraged audience participation while the film was showing.
He told people to shout "Sieg Heil" – a common chant at political rallies in Nazi Germany which translates as Hail Victory – every time Dr Scott, the German scientist, came on screen.
Some audience members then did the Nazi salute.
The one-night show was a touring production, not produced by Curve, and the theatre is now investigating the complaint.
Katherine, who moved to Leicester in 2009 to escape anti-Semitism in London, attended the performance on Friday with her son and stepson.
"I am sure you cannot imagine the distress, sitting in the theatre on this day, surrounded by people shouting 'Sieg Heil' and some of them adding to this the Nazi salute caused me.
"When it happened I really thought I must have been imagining it.
"Asking people to shout 'Sieg Heil', and a portion of those, who would then of course do a Nazi salute, meant that sitting in the theatre could only be compared to a Nuremberg Rally," said Katherine, from the West End, Leicester.
The performance on Friday coincided with the anniversary of Kristallnacht – the Night of Broken Glass. On November 9, 1938, thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses in Germany and Austria were burnt to the ground and 30,000 Jews – including Katherine's father Max Wolfe – were incarcerated in camps.
Her father was held in Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany.
He was one of the last Jews to be released after his family bought him back from the Nazis and sent him to England just before the start of the war.
He later served with the Leicestershire Tigers regiment during the war.
His brother was imprisoned in Auchswitz and their own father, Otto, was killed at Sobibor camp in Poland.
Katherine, 52, said: "On any day this would have been completely unacceptable, but on Kristallnacht of all days – you just could not make it up. It was extremely distressing."
She said she had been to many other productions of the show and had never witnessed any anti-Semitic behaviour.
Curve said the producers of the show – Singalonga Productions Ltd – is responsible for the content.
A spokeswoman for Curve said they were investigating the complaint.
"Curve does not condone racist or anti-Semitic behaviour in any way. We will contact Ms Horkheimer-Wolfe directly, and we are extremely sorry for any distress this has caused her and her family."
Ben Freedman, producer of Singalonga Rocky Horror, apologised for causing offence and said that was not the intention of the show.
"The heckling of the character Dr Von Scott is something which, as far as we are aware and having done significant research, has always been a part of the traditional heckles for the Rocky Horror Show dating back when the interactive show first started.
"Like many of the traditional heckles of the other characters in the film, it is intended to highlight hypocrisy.
"In this particular case it seems that the hypocrisy would be the willingness of people after the war to accept German scientists with questionable pasts because of the knowledge that they had.
"To reiterate, it is not nor has ever been our intention to upset anyone in any way."