Why Richard Wagner should be banned in Germany

Why Richard Wagner should be banned in Germany


norman lebrecht

August 10, 2014

Title of a new memoir by the Austrian Wagner baritone Bernd Weikl. Can’t wait.


wagner deutschland




  • Interested party says:

    Catchy title…

  • Michael Hurshell says:

    Might have been more impressive (as a title) if written before, or during, his long Wagner career in German theaters, as opposed to after. – Or: is it a satire?

  • Michael Hurshell says:

    Just checked various German comments on the book. He really is serious. Oh dear.

  • Michael Endres says:

    The ” Puccini of music ” will comfortably survive this attack ,wanna bet ?

  • GEll says:

    Has to be satire.

  • Marcel Lockhart says:

    It’s not satire unfortunately, it’s stupidity.


    Erscheinungstermin: Juli 2014
    Zuletzt bekräftigten die überaus zahlreichen Veröffentlichungen aus Anlass des 200. Geburtstages von Richard Wagner abermals, dass direkte Linien von Wagner und Bayreuth in den deutschen Nationalsozialismus, und hier insbesondere zu seinem Antisemitismus, weisen. Denn beide, Wagner und Bayreuth, hätten, so stellen dazu ganz unabhängig voneinander renommierte Autoren fest, beträchtliche Teile des deutschen Bildungsbürgertums zumindest an diese verbrecherische Ideologie herangeführt, der Komponist sei zudem in vielfältiger Form direkter Stichwortgeber Adolf Hitlers gewesen. Damit noch nicht genug: Wagners Erben wären diesen verhängnisvollen Weg unbeirrt weiter gegangen, so dass zu konstatieren ist, dass in der Beziehung von Wagner zu Hitler und damit namentlich zum Holocaust die Kontinuität dominiert. Nimmt man diesen Befund ernst, kann er nicht ohne Konsequenzen bleiben. Denn jedwede Befürwortung oder auch nur Duldung antisemitischer Vorbehalte oder gar hier entspringender Handlungsaufforderungen erfüllt in letzter Konsequenz einen Straftatbestand. Geboten ist daher, einer künftigen Verbreitung Wagnerschen Denkens und Fühlens entschieden entgegenzutreten – folglich sind seine Schriften zu indizieren und seine Kompositionen von den Spielplänen zu verbannen. Dies zu veranlassen, sind Gerichte aufgerufen; Argumente hierzu liefert dieses Buch.

  • Max Grimm says:

    He is quite serious. From what I understand he argues that Richard Wagner was a trailblazer of German National Socialism and by extent smoothed the path to the extermination of European Jews. Following his argumentation, Richard Wagner’s writings would fulfill the criteria of the offenses of “Volksverhetzung” (incitement of the people) and “Gewaltdarstellung” (depiction of violence) in accordance with §130 and §131 of the German criminal code.
    Quite honestly I am more than certain that Mr. Weikl could successfully argue to have some of Wagner’s writings banned but calling for the need to ban everything Wagner in Germany sounds a bit like sensationalism.

  • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

    A singer of prominence like Bernd Weikl argues, even urges, it seems, to declare “verboten!” everything written by Richard Wagner. It will be interesting to read his arguments once I can buy his book. The expected debate is something I look forward to with great anticipation. I wonder, though: Does Weikl realize his cure is as bad as the affliction? It is, imho, much better to educate, educate, educate. I, for one, prefer Daniel Barenboim’s position: would that Wagner had written more beautiful music instead of wasting his energies on antisemitic treatises and essays….

  • anonymus says:

    “…offenses of “Volksverhetzung” (incitement of the people) and “Gewaltdarstellung” (depiction of violence) in accordance with §130 and §131 of the German criminal code…”

    Following that “logic” 95% of Hollywood movies must be banned as well. Then all Stephen King novels. Etc. etc…

    Someone clearly is looking for attention, since the the flies in media circus will as usual swarm around this ridiculous thesis like it was dog shit.

  • Peter Freeman says:

    Is this not akin to book burning?

  • anonymus says:

    How about Tanakh, Bible and Quran?
    Aren’t these the sources of all evil when it comes to “…offenses of “Volksverhetzung” (incitement of the people) and “Gewaltdarstellung” (depiction of violence) in accordance with §130 and §131 of the German criminal code…”

    Anything by Martin Luther on the index? Also anything by Theodor Herzl (a textbook racist)?

    • Max Grimm says:

      In regard to your questions about Hollywood and religious texts, you would probably have to ask a German jurist to explain what exactly §130 and §131 apply to and what exceptions exist, or Mr. Weikl’s why he believes Wagner specifically violates said paragraphs (considering he earned his living as a singer and NOT a jurist, I’d stick to asking a judge or a lawyer).
      To be honest, I find the title of his book would also work well as the headline of an article one might read in the Bildzeitung. Personally, I shall remain perfectly content ignoring +95% of what comes from Hollywood and enjoying Wagner’s music regardless of his views and writings.

      • anonymus says:

        I agree with everything you said and would like to know, where in Wagner’s work one can find only one clear case of Volksverhetzung/”incitement of the people”. I have no idea, knowing the oeuvre pretty well.

        Is he talking about Lohengrin: “Nach Deutschland sollen noch in fernsten Tagen des Ostens Horden siegreich nimmer ziehen!” ? That would be dismissed by a court for sure.

        What could Weikl possibly mean?

        • Charles says:

          “Das Judenthum in der Musik” is a good place to start to understand exactly the “case against Wagner”. I add immediately that I don’t mix politics and music eventhough I do regard politics and music as very much intertwined since WWII…

          • anonymus says:

            The disgusting diatribe “Das Judenthum in der Musik” is not performed or read on any stage, so from a judicial point of view there is nothing against performing Wagner’s musical works, which have no references to racial hatred or anti-semitism.

            Otherwise we might have to ban a major share of the world’s cultural heritage, only because their creators at some point in their life did something regrettable or despicable. This whole discussion and the book that started it are simply stupid.

  • Simon S. says:

    Can we assume he has already donated every single D-Mark and Euro he has ever earned for performing Wagner in Germany (including German record sales) to organisations supporting the victims of Naziism? (BTW: Austria can count as Germany for this purpose.)

  • Anne says:

    He has attracted 12 comments here so far. This might go some way towards explaining why he wrote the book.

  • Charles says:

    Old age can BE devastating for some…

  • Charles says:

    If one is to consider the current climate of PC in the Arts the questions should be: why hasn’t anyone thought about it earlier? Why only in Germany? Why only Wagner? Why not add Bruckner, Strauss, Orff… and why not add Fürtwangler, Von Karajan… and about anyone involved in the musical world in Germany between 1933 and 1945?

    • anonymus says:

      Don’t stop with the Nazis. Ban every piece of art by any artist, unless he lived a 100% politically correct life by today’s standards. Oh dear Spaghetti Monster, beware us of the new cultural PC Nazis, the new cultural revolution a la Mao.

  • Sator says:

    Hooray! The next nutty Nazi opera conspiracy book: second cousin to Nazi UFO conspiracy theories, and Occult Reich kitsch. But you aren’t going to see historians throw out libraries full of studies of the origins of the Final Solution and say that it was all caused by a 19th century opera composer yet.


    And where are the book entitled “Luther’s Hitler: the Prophet and his Disciple”? Where are the calls to ban Martin Luther’s writings?