Saturday, November 28, 2009

Interviews with Friedlinde Wagner

From the Nizkor Project.
Friedlinde Wagner is the granddaughter of Richard Wagner and the daughter of Winifred and Siegfried Wagner. Her mother became interested in the Nazi movement about 1923 and was warmly welcomed by Hitler because of her family and the social contacts she was able to provide. Hitler visited the Wagner home "Wahnfried" shortly after. It was the first time that Friedlinde had ever seen him. She was six years old at the time but still remembers him very clearly on account of the costume which was strange to her.

Hitler wore his Bavarian leather pants with suspenders and the short socks which are not common in Bayreuth. He looked very funny to her and she was much interested in his mission. She does not remember what was discussed but she remembers that his teeth were extremely bad and that he was very awkward and ill at ease. The family talked about him after his departure and also found him very amusing. Winifred thought him a diamond in the rough while Siegfried considered him a fraud and an up-start. Neither one has changed their minds in the course of time. In the years that followed Hitler was a regular and frequent visitor at "Wahnfried" and it became as near to being a home as any he has contacted since his mother died.

The entire Wagner family addresses him in terms of "Du" and Winifred even to this day calls him by the nickname he had adopted, "Wolf". He seems to be very much at home in the Wagner household and has often stayed there without his guards. This was all arranged in the greatest secrecy and he usually came with his entire entourage early in the evening and then drive off to some Inn where all arrangements had been made and then later return alone with his chauffeur. When he stayed overnight at "Wahnfried" he usually occupied a small guest cottage next to the large house. In later years, particularly since he has become Chancellor, this guest cottage was not adequate to his needs and he has enlarged the original cottage and built another in which to house his staff.

The entire Wagner family has often been invited to the Chancellery and to Munich and to Berchtesgaden.. They have strict orders from Hitler that they must call on him whenever they pass through Berlin when he is there. The result is that they have all visited him informally a great many times and have seen him under unusual conditions. Hitler has always been very gracious to them on such occasions and has invariably invited them to meals or parties and encouraged them to prolong their visit.

There has always been considerable friction between Hitler and Friedlinde. From the very beginning she thought him amusing but never came under his charm. If anything, there has been a note of antagonism which, according to her story, has often been verbalized. This antagonism may be due to the fact that from the very first meeting Hitler seemed to be attracted more to her younger sister than to herself. He always paid a great of attention to the sister and he would do almost anything she requested. One has the feeling that there is an underlying jealousy which has not been consciously faced.

1 comment:

  1. The rest of the article is really good. From page 5: "He stamped back and forth across the room, shouting at the top of his voice that this was nonsense and what did duty to the school mean in comparison to duty to the culture."