Hitler’s shadow falls again over Wagner’s Wahnfried

The composer’s mansion at Bayreuth was shut five years ago for refurbishment. It was due to reopen for the 2013 bicentennial festival but that date came and went, as costs mounted to 20 million Euros.

The latest inauguration deadline is July 26 this month, but the town of Bayreuth has announced legal action against the museum director, Sven Friedrich, and he’s fighting back with a counter-suit.

Meanwhile, the house next door which belonged to Siegfried Wagner is planning to open for the first time to the public with an exhibition of Adolf Hitler’s happy times at home with the Wagners.

Oh, never a dull day in Bayreuth.

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    • Many Austro-German institutions have been criticized for concealing their past. One can see this exhibition as a positive step in the right direction, even if it is not the best way to launch a Siegfried Wagner house.

      • Are you serious? It appears that they take a great pride in it, showing us how fun all of it was. It is not a confession upon the horrible past; just pictures of Hitler’s smiles at this horrible place. One may wonder if they are selling it on postcards…

        • That’s nonsensical. Everybody who has informed him/herself in present-day German dealing with its past, knows that their ‘Aufarbeitung’ has been, and is, exemplary. For instance, their filmdrama’s (both in the cinema and on TV) taking place in the nazi period are always conceived from the contemporary modern point of view, showing an immense distance to the material, not emulations. And that is why the German efforts to suppress rightwing extremism are so extensive, although it does not always seem to work. Bayreuth is a focus point in this Nachkriegsschuldbewältigungsprozess.

  • So if the Festival says nothing about Hitler, then they are sweeping the scandal under the rug, but if they arrange an exhibition exposing Hitler’s participation in the Festival, then they are celebrating fascism, is that how it works?

  • I think the applicable rule of thumb here is “Anything that happens at Bayreuth is wrong.”

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