21 JUNE 1913, Page 2

The celebrations of the Centenary of the War of Liberation

in Silesia have been marked by a curious incident. Gerhart Ha.uptmann, the famous dramatist and poet, who is a native of Silesia, was commissioned to write a Festspiel for the com- memorative exhibition at Breslau, and eleven performances of the play had actually taken place when the Crown Prince, the patron of the exhibition, intervened on the ground of the character of the work, and the Breslau authorities have now forbidden the remaining performances. Hauptmann's treat- ment of the subject is admittedly unconventional. Its keynote is not war but freedom. "Frederick William III. is not mentioned, and Germany, attired and armed as Pallas Athene, sends her children to war, with the command first to free Germany from foreign rule, secondly to care for her

unity, and then themselves to be free." The Times corre- spondent seems to think that Hauptmann's conception of the

functions of a poet laureate is very curious, and calculated to offend orthodox and Conservative patriots. We should have thought the incident was a proof of the condition approaching intellectual slavery in which the German people have to live. It is to us astounding that they can continue to endure such treatment from the throne and the bureaucracy.