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Curt Trepte

On 4 March, 1933, the Truppe 1931 performed Wer ist der Dümmstmmste, and sang Es wird die neue Welt geboren at the end. The show was banned. I worked almost daily with Wolpe preparing the songs. He had also other Kampflieder which had nothing to do with Mausefalle, for example, Wir sind die Herren der Welt. These were sung by the troupe at various gatherings.

During the periods of [political] discussion, which often went on for months, Wolpe was always present, but he hardly ever took part in them. He listened attentively in order to transform the results into music, mostly to general satisfaction. Wolpe was a passionate musician. He had a practice keyboard that he used to play on and compose with on the train.

The Mausefalle was performed 350 times, 217 times in Berlin alone. Every evening for three months in the Kleines Theater Unter den Linden, the theater Max Reinhardt had begun with his cabaret [Schall und Ranch]. The theater ticket prices were 75 pfennig to 5 marks. In consideration of the unemployed, they revolutionized the pricing of tickets. In the Mausefalle the piano was behind the stage and Inge von Wangenheim played the violin. In 1931 the Mausefalle played one week in December and in 1932 for four months in Berlin. Then we went on tour through Germany to Leipzig, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Saarbrücken, until the beginning of June. In Switzerland we were invited by a Swiss friend, an architect, to Lugano, opposite the Italian border. He rebuilt a customs house as a weekend house and invited us there in June. We toured the old houses of Gandrie and drank special wines with a good dinner, and when it was dark and the moon rose, the Swiss Alps on the north side looked silvery blue. Steffie Spira walked along the shore reciting Marie Stuart [Schiller]. Wolpe and I took a rowboat and saw the lights reflected in the water, then stopped in the middle of the lake and heard the crickets. It was the most marvelous experience.

Wangenheim had written Da liegt der Hund begraben on an island in the North Sea. It was prepared too quickly and did not have the same success as Mausefalle. In October [1932] the rehearsals began at the Theater am Schiffbauerdam. It played only one month. Mausefalle was again performed in Switzerland. Kurt Tucholsky was there in Zurich at a rehearsal. We went once more to Switzerland in August with Da liegt der Hund begraben.

On January 29, 1933, Hitler was made Chancellor, and on February 4 was the premiere of Wer ist der Dümmste? It was a success with the critics. On February 27 during the performance we learned that the Reichstag was burning. After the performance we went to the Brandenburg Gate to see what was up. It was surrounded with police. We saw the fire in the cupola of the Reichstag and we asked the police who had done this. They answered what was given in the press the next day. Next morning the arrests began. On March 15 began the arrests of the actors. The police had made lists and they surrounded the Rote Block and began to round up the artists. Günther Ruschin was detained for ten days in the Moabit Prison. We went to the apartment of Arnold Czempin and discussed what to do. Wangenheim was already in Paris. Czempin had contact with Friedrich Wolf in Switzerland and joined him there. The entire troupe except for Wolpe and Meyer-Hanno went to Paris in mid July. In January 1934, my wife and I and the Wangenheims went to Moscow.


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