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zu beginnen, sie stellten uns vor, wie wir unbedingt viel
bessere Geschafte machen miissten, wenn wir uns nicht bloss
auf einen Theil des Publicums beschrankten, sondern, wie
die amerikanischen Theater, auf das ganze Publicmn, Ameri-
kaner und Deutsche, Irlander und Englander, speculirten.
Wir gestanden ihnen zu, dass sie Recht hatten, und dass wir
als Geschaftsmann unzweifelhaft sicherer und vorteilhafter
speculiren wiirden, wenn wir heute eine italienische Oper
und morgen ein englisches Schauspiel, diesen Monat die
Ravels und im nachsten die Martinettis vorfuhrten, aber wir
bemerkten zugleich, dass der Gedanke ... in St. Louis
eine stabile, gute, deutsche Biihne zu begriinden, uns viel
verlockender sei, dass wir diesem Gedanken und diesem
Wunsche schon f riiher vier Jahre angestrengter Bemuhungen
mit der philodramatischen Gesellschaft geopfert hatten und
dass wir nun, wo Mittel und Unterstiitzung, wo die Zahl der
darstellenden Krafte und die Theaterlust des Publicums
gestiegen seien, ernst entschlossen waren, wenigstens einen
ernsten Versuch zur Durchfuhrung dieser unserer Lieblings-
idee zu machen und weder Miihen, noch Opfer zu scheuen,
um sie zu realisiren.

"Das Publicum kennt somit unsern Standpunkt als The-
aterunternehmer, es ist nicht Speculationstrieb, nicht Gewinn-
sucht, die uns leiten, denn der Gewinn eines Theaterunter-
nehmers hier ist noch immer ein sehr problematischer gewe-
sen und obenein haben wir zu leben/ wie man im gewohn-
lichen Leben zu sagen pflegt, und diese Zeitung giebt uns so
sichere und so reichliche Ertragnisse, dass wir uns wohl



28 German Drama on the St. Louis Stage

damit bescheiden konnen. Wir wollen also bei dem Theater-
annehmen nicht reich werden, wir sind sogar, in den ersten
Jahren wenigstens, auf Opfer gefasst, und wenn wir uns
diese Opfer und mehr noch die ungeheure Miihe und Arbeit,
die eine Theater-Direction mit sich bringt, aufladen, so
geschiedt es, um in dem deutschen St. Louis ein deutsches
Theater herzustellen und fest zu begriinden, das der Zahl,
der Stellung, der Bildung und dem Einflusse unserer
deutschen Bevolkerung entspricht." 1G

It goes without saying that in a period of heated political
controversy a man of the prominence of Bornstein, to whom
political plotting was second nature, who in the columns of his
paper had undertaken to rule the rising emancipation movement,
should at the instigation of political animosity in unfriendly
quarters have the sincerity of his motives questioned. But his
contention that his was not a money-making scheme, but a pur
suit in the interest of art and culture at least, the sequel of events
does not disprove.

Bornstein leased the former Varieties Theatre, which he now
called the St. Louis Opernhaus, for a period of ten years. He
at once had an extensive theatrical library containing the best
classics and contemporary plays forwarded to him from Vienna
and Leipzig. He had a goodly supply of necessary stage scenery
painted by a capable Austrian stage painter, Ferdinand Kurz.
From a stranded Italian opera company he acquired a copiously
stocked wardrobe more pretentious than that of most of the
smaller court theatres in Germany. His ensemble was recruited
from the best talent available in the country in so far as it was
not permanently engaged in New York. In addition to Bornstein
himself and his talented wife, the ensemble included such first-
rate talent as Alexander Pfeiffer, actor of heroic and character
parts; Karoline Lindemann, character and mother parts, and
Julius Ascher, comedian and character actor. 17 The first two,



"Anseiger dcs Westens, August 28, 1858.

17 The other members of the ensemble were Adolphi, by-parts ; Wilhelm
Berben, villain and comic parts; Ehnler, by-parts, servants; Fortner, leading
comedian (part of first season) ; Anton Follger, jeune premier; Julius Gross-
mann, leading gentleman, bonvivants, comic parts ; Emil Hochster, gallants,



German Drama on the St. Louis Stage 29

who had appeared in New York, the Almanack dcr deutschen
Buhnen in Amerika lauded as the best talent on the New York
stage at the time of their appearance there. 18

Pfeiffer had enjoyed extensive reputation and high rank as
an actor in Germany. Expression of liberal political views had
led to a difference with the manager of the theatre at Mannheim,
Baden, which determined him to emigrate to this country. Mme.
Lindemann (nee Miiller) had received her tutelage under Char
lotte Birch-Pfeiffer in Zurich and had afterward scored a triumph
in Darmstadt. Ascher had appeared successfully in Berlin. The
members of the ensemble were all engaged for a period of eighteen
months. It was Bornstein s; plan to play summer and winter
without interruption. In announcing his plans he wrote :

"Ein Theater, zu dem jedes Mai bei Beginn des Winters
ein Dutzend Schauspieler und Schauspielerinnen zusam-
mengetrommelt werden, die sich nicht kennen and verstehen,
die dann iiber Hals und Kopf in ein Noth-Repertoire hin-
eingestiirzt werden, um, wenn sie anfangen sich zusammen-
zuspielen und ein Ensemble zu bilden, wieder entlassen zu
werden, sobald der Friihling und die ersten Schwalben
kommen, ein solches one-horse-concern haben wir in
Europa nie gefiihrt und mochten es auch. hier nicht. Dieses
Exploitiren einer Winter-Saison, ohne alle Riicksicht auf
hohere Kunstzwecke, konnte uns nicht befriedigen. Konnen
wir hier nicht ein stabiles und gutes deutsches Theater her-
stellen, womit wir jetzt den Versuch beginnen, so bleibt uns
nichts iibrig, als die deutsche Buhne hier, wenn auch mit
Bedauern, ihrem Schicksale zu iiberlassen und unser Theater
in anderer Weise, gleich den iibrigen amerikanischen Thea-
tern auf das Moglichst-Beste zu ververthen." 19



naive parts ; Kinklin, by-parts ; Arthur Kampmann, gallants ; Louis Menschke,
servants, by-parts; Friedrich Ropenack, character and villain parts, fathers;
Schwan, fathers and character parts; G. W. Stierlin, comedian; Wilson,
Walter, Schiiler, by-parts; Mile. Bornstein, jeune premiere, by-parts; Mme.
Alwine Dremmel, jeune premiere, by-parts; Mile. Halenz, jeune premiere,
by-parts; Mme. Rohardine Otto, leading lady; Mme. Louise Riedel, comic
old women; Mme. Pfeiffer, mothers and comic old women. The complete
personnel of the theatre, including property master and assistants, numbered
about forty.

18 Heinrich Schmidt, Almanack der deutschen Buhnen in Amerika (New
York: G. B. Teubner, 1860), I, 14 ff.

18 Anzeiger des Westens, September 4, 1859.



30 German Drama on the St. Louis Stage

The St. Louis Opernhaus was formally opened September
15, 1859. In order to afford time for the new theatrical com
pany to assemble and hold necessary rehearsals the German the
atrical season proper was prefaced by a series of twenty opera
performances by Signora Parodi s Italian Opera Company. The
company, which included as principals the prima donnas Teresa
Parodi and Karline Alaino, the tenor Giovanni Sbiglia, the bari
tone F. Gnone and the basso N. Barili, was pronounced by critics
to have been superior to that of Strakosch and others which had
previously visited St. Louis. It presented La Traviata four times,
Polinto three times, // Trovatore, Lucia di Lammermoore, Nor ma,
Ernani and Lucrecia Borgia each twice, and La Favorita, Rigo-
lette and // Babiere di Siviglia each once. 20

The theatrical season opened October i with a performance
of Goethe s Egmont. Performances were given daily. The sea
son promised well. The repertory presented showed that the
director was working toward the artistic and cultural goal he had
set before him. The hundredth anniversary of Schiller s birth
was commemorated in the Opernhaus by a series of Schiller s
plays. His Ranker, Kabalc und Liebe, Fiesco, Maria Stuart,
Wallensteins Tod and Wilhelm Tell were presented on November
6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and n respectively. The series was prefaced
November 5 by a performance of Laube s Karlsschiilcr. Except
ing a Sunday performance of Hersch s Anna Lisa, three classic



20 Signora Parodi s Company returned to the St. Louis Opernhaus Decem
ber 27 for a series of performances, at which the following operas were
given : Norma, La Traviata, and Don Giovanni, each twice ; // Trovatore,
Lucia di Lammermoore, Lucrecia Borgia and Polinto, once. Later in the
season the French opera company from New Orleans with Mme. Dalmont-
Messmacre as prima donna, Demoiselle D Arcy as soubrette, M. Philippe as
tenor, gave a number of performances which alternated with the German
theatrical performances. In April, 1861, Madame Colson s Italian Opera
Company gave a series of performances in the Opernhaus. The company
included the prima donnas Pauline Colson and Miss Kellog, the tenor Brig-
noli, the baritone Ferri and the basso Susini. Later the pantomime and ballet
company Siegrist Zamfretta with a large corps de ballet and excellent dan-
seuses, and finally Anna Bishop with her concert company, appeared on the
stage of the Opernhaus to lend the season variety.



German Drama on the St. Louis Stage 31

plays Faust, Jungfrau von Orleans and Morcto s Donna Dianna
(German by West) attracted the largest audiences during the
initial months of the season. These plays formed part of a series
of eighteen performances in which Antonie Grahn, formerly of
the Hoftheater in Darmstadt, later of the Stadt Theater in New
York, appeared in starring parts, such as Gretchen, Ophelia, Julia,
Johanna, Maria Stuart and Donna Dianna. She received un
stinted praise for her work, in which she received first-rate sup
port from Pfeiffer in roles such as Faust and Hamlet, Mme.
Lindemann as Martha, Follger as Romeo, and Bornstein as Perin
in Donna Dianna. Beginning with February the company had
the support of Heinrich Kronfeld, of the Hoftheater in Darm
stadt, in a number of performances. He excelled in comedy. He
proved to be a drawing attraction, as Mme. Grahn had been.

But the unhappy political and attending economic conditions
of the time militated against the realization of Bernstein s plans.
As the performances grew in dramaturgical excellence and gained
in the estimation of the critics, the attendance decreased. Con
strained by the necessity of attracting a full house, Bornstein was
forced to strive after that which was designed for effect. In
March and April, 1860, he staged fourteen performances of Der
Zauberschlcier, romantisch-komisches Feenspiel mit Gesang und
Tans, an adaptation from Scribe by F. X. Told. In September
and October of the same year he staged twenty- four perform
ances of Raimund s Barometermacher auf der Zaubcrinscl, and
in November nine performances of a local Seller zspicl by Told
called Liebeleien in Cincinnati, Neckercien in St. Louis und Fop-
pereien in Carondelet. But such performances were not staged at
the sacrifice of quality. With reference to the performances of
the Zauberschleier, a contributor to the Anzeiger wrote: "Hat
sich unser Opernhaus-Theater in Bezug auf Darstellung bis jetzt
schon den ersten Platz in Amerika erobert, so tritt es mit den
letzten Auffiihrungen des Zauberschleiers auch in jeder anderen
Beziehung in die Reihe der grossen Theater ein, und St. Louis
darf stolz auf ein Institut sein, das auf die Beurtheilung des



32 German Drama on the St. Louis Stage

hiesigen deutschen Elements auf das Vortheilhafteste zuriick-
wirken muss." 21

And commenting upon the Liebeleien performances, a critic
wrote: "Wir diirfen es dreist aussprechen, dass die Direktion
mit der Nothwendigkeit, eine Reihe voller Hauser zu schaffen,
aufs Neue in einer Weise entledigt, die wieder einmal den von
uns schon ausgesprochenen Satz bestatigt, dass die St. Louiser
deutsche Biihne die erste in den Vereinigten Staaten ist."

Because of poor attendance Bornstein concluded to close the
Opernhaus temporarily January 20, 1861, and in the interim to
take his company to Cincinnati, where conditions were not yet
affected by the impending political crisis. The company played
with success in Pike s Opera House in Cincinnati, where it had
the hearty support of the German press, and then, ere returning
to St. Louis, played with appreciative reception for several even
ings in Louisville. 23 The company resumed daily performances
in the St. Louis Opernhaus March 31.

Sundays had brought the German theatre its largest audi
ences. When the Know-nothing party, the political enemy of the
free-soil" Germans, came into power, they at once unearthed
and arbitrarily enforced an antiquated law which prohibited the
theatre to open on Sundays. On the 8th of April the new police
commissioners were installed. On Sunday, April 14, at six o clock
in the evening, Bornstein was notified not to open his theatre.
He declined to heed the police order. Fifteen minutes later the
new chief of police with forty policemen came and took posses
sion of the building. Threatened violence upon the police by the
assembled Germans was forestalled by a speech from Bornstein,
who advised them to quietly go home. Inability to give the cus
tomary "Sacred Concerts," as the Sunday performances had in
the past been termed, dictated that a German theatre could not



31 Anzeiger dcs West ens, March 20, 1860.
M Anzcigcr des West ens, November n, 1860.

1 "Herrn Bornstein gebiihrt allerdings fur die von ihm organisirte
Schauspielertruppe, die er Anfangs der 6oger Jahre ebenfalls nach Cincinnati
brachte, und zu deren eifrigsten Unterstiitzern auch wir gehorten, grosse An-
erkenming. Wir gestehen es ein, es war das das beste deutsche Theater was
Cincinnati je gehabt hat." Der deutsche Pionier (Cincinnati, 1882), XIV, 20,



German Drama on the St. Louis Stage 33

meet with financial success. For the German element of the city
lived for the most part in the extreme northern and southern
parts of the city and therefore had no time to attend perform
ances after business hours on week days. Bornstein consequently
closed his theatre permanently April 20.

Had the police interference not put an abrupt end to St.
Louis Opernhaus, the political crisis, which within the next fort
night became acute, would have done so. After the closing of
the theatre Bornstein used all his energies and did much to con
solidate the German sentiment of St. Louis in favor of the Union.
He was prominent in organizing the German troops for the de
fense of the United States arsenal in St. Louis. He took part
under General Lyon in the seizure of Camp Jackson May 10,
1861. He was elected Colonel of the Second Regiment of Mis-



Ill. 1861-1891.

A. 1861-1867. A New Era Begins. The Directorship of Wil-

helm Koser.

After the St. Louis Opernhaus had closed its doors Alex
ander Pfeiffer attempted with a remnant of Bornstein s en
semble to institute a German stage in Apollo Garten. At the
souri Volunteers, and as such saw active service. 24
initial performance, July 9, Bohn s Drama, Der Tower von
London, was staged. The following day Benedix s Schauspiel,
Die Stiefmuttcr, and Putlitz s Lustspicl, Badckurcn, were per
formed, and July n, Topfer s Lustspicl, Frcien nach Vorschrift.
This third performance marked the end of the experiment. At
a time when the columns of the German press were full of calls



24 After several months of active military service, spent for the most part
in Jefferson City, Bornstein was appointed counsel to Bremen by President
Lincoln. He went abroad, to return in 1864, at the invitation of his friend,
Hon. Francis P. Blair, to take part in Lincoln s second campaign. After the
election he returned to his consular post, which he held till deprived of it
in 1864 in consequence of the rotation in office which followed Lincoln s
death. From 1869-1871 he was codirector with Carl Bukovics, of the Joseph-
stadt Theater in Vienna. During his last years he corresponded for the Cin
cinnati Volksblattcr, the Westliche Post and the Illinois-Staats-Zeitung. He
died in Vienna, September 10, 1890.



34 German Drama on the St. Louis Stage

for volunteers to do military service in the cause of the Union,
an attempt to set up a stage could not prove other than futile.
A number of actors formerly belonging to Bernstein s ensemble
were now engaged in active military service under his com
mand.

A new era for German theatricals began with the spring
of 1862. May 1 8 the theatre in Apollo Garten was formally
reopened under the directorship of Alexander Pfeiffer, June I
the one in Reudi s Volksgarten under the directorship of R.
Rosinski and A. Follger. Both theatres usually played three
times weekly, tho the latter advertised irregularly. During June
and July occasional performances were also given in Flora
Garten under the management of Rosinski. In these Mme.
Louise Thielemann, who had been active on the St. Louis stage
in the early part of its history, took part. The personnel of the
performances during the season was a varying one. In the en
semble of the theatre in Apollo Garten appear the names of
Theodor Boll, Julius Grossmann, Konemann, Lange (of Cincin
nati), Mme. Caroline Lindmann, Mme. Ludovika and Mile. Mai-
wine Pfeiffer, and in occasional starring parts, Ascher, G. W.
Stierlin, Spitznas, Werber and Follger, and Mmes. Koser, Otto
and Werber, among them members of the ensemble in Rudei s
Volksgarten. In the latter ensemble appear the names of Wil-
helm Bottner, Follger, Werber, Mme. and Mile. Bottner, and
Mmes. Otto, Pritzkow, Ungar and Werber. August 10 the
directorship of the performances in Ruedi s Volksgarten passed
into the hands of Bottner. In a number of performances under
his short lived directorship, which terminated August 24, the
combined talent of the two stages took part. Aside from one
performance each of Laube s KarlsschiUcr and Montrosc in
Apollo Garten nothing of literary value was staged during this
season. Kotzebue, Friedrich, Nestroy, Birch-Pfeiffer, Corner
and Benedix, the most popular dramatists represented on the
stage during the period antedating the establishment of the St.
Louis Opernhaus, and popular on the latter stage, continued to



German Drama on the St. Louis Stage 35

be preferred during the season with 8, 10, 3, 4, 7 and 10 perform
ances respectively. Raupach was represented twice. The rela
tive percentage of Schauspiel, Volksstiick, etc., Lustspicl and
Posse presented under the Pieiffer and the Rosinski-Follger-Bott-
ner managements were respectively 21+, 5 , 47+, 27 , and
3 , n , 26+, and 61 per cent.

The summer season in Apollo Garten was concluded Octo
ber 3. October 5 Pfeiffer staged Kriiger s Madchcn vom Dorfc
in the former St. Louis Opernhaus, now again called the Varie
ties Theatre. October 21 he opened a winter season in Concert
Hall with a performance of Deinhartstein s Hans Sachs. De
tails of Pfeiffer s activity during this season are meagre in the
extant records. Reference to his stage in later years, however,
ranked the performances under his direction with those of
Bornstein. The end of this season marked the termination of
his connection with the St. Louis stage.

Beginning with this same winter the destiny of the Ger
man stage for the next five years lay chiefly in the hands of
Wilhelm Koser. October i Koser opened a theatre on Market
Street, between Fourth and Fifth Streets, "deni Courthouse
gegeniiber im Museum," which he termed the Deutsches Stadt-
theatre. He conducted a theatre in this same building for four
consecutive winter seasons, but each season the theatre under
went a change of name. With the second season (October 6,
1863 May i, 1864), the name was changed to the St. Louis
Stadttheater, with the third season (October 8, 1864 May 21,
1865), to tne National Theater, which, with the fourth season
(September 6, 1865 May 14, 1866), was again changed to the
Deutsches Stadttheater, also called during this season the Metro
politan Theater. During the last winter under his directorship
Koser performed on Sundays (September 23, 1866 April 28,
1867) m ^e Varieties Theatre and occasionally in the Olympic
Theatre, and on week-days (February 9 April 22) in the
"Walhalla" Vaudeville Theater on Fourth Street, between Mar-



36 German Drama on the St. Louis Stage

ket and Walnut Streets. The former winter home of Koser s
theatre had been destroyed by fire in the spring of 1866.

During the intervening summers, with the exception of the
summer of 1865, Koser regularly conducted a summer theatre.
During the summer of 1863 he played first in Ruedi s Volks-
garten and later (August 6 October 3) in Apollo Garten. In
the latter he again played the following summer (June 14
October 3, 1864). During the summer of 1866 he played in the
Stadttheater Garden on Elm Street, between Third and Fourth.
The gap in Koser s activity as director presented by the sum
mer of 1865 was filled by Hannes Lewens who conducted the
stage in Apollo Garten from May 21 till September 24 with
daily performances principally of Lustspicl and Posse by an en
semble recruited largely from the ranks of the company directed
by Koser during the preceding winter. During the course of
the summer Alexander Pfeiffer played under Lewen s director
ship in four, and Louis Pelosi and his wife in eight star engage
ments.

Koser played daily in both his winter and summer theatre,
with the exception of the first two winter seasons, during which
he played three or four times weekly. The personnel of his
stage during these years changed almost completely from sea
son to season. 25 With the aid of talent such as Otto von Hoym



K In the following list of those recorded as playing under Koser s di
rectorship the figures 2, 3, 4, 6 and 2-3, 3-4, etc., indicate respectively the
summer seasons 1862, 1863, etc., and the winter seasons 1862-63, etc., during
which the actor in question played in his ensemble. An asterisk indicates that
the actor appeared during the season not as a regular member of the ensem
ble, but in Gastspiele.

Ahlfeld 5-6, Julius Ascher *4, *5-6, Rudolph Beckier *4, Berman 5-6,
Theodor Boll *3~4, T. Conny *4~5, Conrady 5-6, Anton Follger *3, *4, *4-5,
Caesar Franck *6, Friedrich Gebhard 4-5, Anton Graff 5-6, 6, Heinrich Graff
6, Groehner 6-7, J. Grossman 3, 3-4, R. Griinewald 4-5, Albert Giihlen 5-6, 6-7,
Georg Hagen 6, M. Hahn *3-4, E. Harting 5-6, Rudolph Helmer 6, Emil Hoch-
ster 4, 4-5, Otto von Hoym *6-7, Gustav Htibsch 6, Richard Jahn 3-4, 4-5, 5-6,
Ludwig Knorr *4, Julius Koch 4-5, 6-7, Kress 5-6, Georg Kriiger 3, 3-4, Wil-
helm Kunst 4-5, 6, Emil Lasswitz *5-6, *6, Hugo Lennert 4-5, Bruno Lensch-
ner 6, Hannes Lewens 4, 4-5, 5-6, 6, 6-7, Adolph Lieberati 6, 6-7, J. K. Mc-
Afferty (Professor in Racine College, in one performance of Halm s Sohn
dcr Wildnis, February 12, 1866), Louis Menschke 4, 4-5. Conrad Miiller 6,
Wilhelm Mumsen 6, Friedrich Neidmann 4-5, 5-6, 6, 6-7, Emil von der Osten
*6-7, Gustav Ostermann *4, Carl Otto 3-4, 6-7, Pelzer 3, Alexander Pfeiffer
*5-6, Karl Rensberg 4, G. Rogge 5-6, R. Rosinsky 3, 3-4, Erwin Rossbach 6,



German Drama on the St. Louis Stage 37

and Emil von der Osten, Mmes. Bekker-Grahn and Mile.
Clausen, Koser was, however, able to conduct a stage of literary
as well as dramaturgical importance. Press comment on the
performance under Koser s directorship is occasional and general
in nature. The relative merit of his stage is attested by rem
iniscent comment in the editorial columns of the press of the
next decade, where his performances and his audiences are
classed with those of Bornstein and Pfeiffer.

Of the 945 performances recorded as given under Koser s
direction, the Traucr spiel represented 5 per cent.,
Schauspiel, 19+ per cent., Volksstuck, etc., 15+ per
cent., Lustspiel, 25 per cent., Posse, 25 per cent.,
Sing spiel, etc., 6 per cent., Oper, 5 per cent. The
repertory included many plays of literary importance. These
were (figures indicate number of times performed) : Goethe s
Faust 4; Schiller s Braut von Messina 5, Don Carlos i,
Fiesco i, Jungfrau von Orleans 5, Kabale und Licbe 2, Maria
Stuart 3, R duber 9, Wallensteins Lager 2, Wallensteins Tod i,
Wilhelm Tell 4; Lessing s Nathan der Weise i; Grillparzer s
Medea 2; Gutzkow s Konigsleutnant i, Uriel Acosta 6; Hebbel s
Gcnoveva 3 ; Kleist s Kdtchen von Heilbronn 3 ; Laube s Graf
Essex 3, Karlsschuler 5 ; Raimund s Alpenkbnig 3, Bauer ah
Milliondr 5, Verschwender 5 ; Shakespeare s Besdhmte Wider-
spenstige i, Hamlet 4, Kaufmann von Venedig 3, Othello i.



Otto Rudolph 4, 5-6, Leonhard Scherer *s, 5-6, J. H. Schmitz 4-5, H. Schmitz
3-4, 5-6, 6, Carl Schone 3, C. Schunck *6, Friedrich Schurthe 3-4, Friedrich
Schwan *3-4, Alexander Julius Varena 4-5, Carl Werber 3-4, 4, Christian
Wolf 5-6, Ignatz Wolf *3~4, *4, 4-5, 5-6, *6, *6-7, Alphons von Zerboni 6.


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