How twisted was Willem Mengelberg? Worse than you’d imaginemain
In the new issue of Standpoint magazine I assess the latest – and surely the last – biography of the darkly compromised Dutch conductor.
There is new evidence of his attitude to Hitler – and none of it is good.
He worshipped Mussolini and collected picture postcards of Adolf Hitler. He was rude about Jews and, when the Germans invaded his country, gave an interview to the racialist Völkischer Beobachter, announcing his joy at the occupation: “We stayed up all night, ordered champagne and celebrated that great hour. It was truly a great hour . . . Europe awaits a new future.”
There is more. A lot more. Including sexual manipulation.