Bayreuth scrubs out two antisemites

Bayreuth scrubs out two antisemites


norman lebrecht

April 01, 2022

The town of Bayreuth this week finally renamed two streets that formerly bore the names of prominent Hitler propagandists.

Twenty-one councillors voted to remove Hans Meiser, a furiously antisemitic Lutheran bishop, renaming his street Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Straße after the anti-Nazi theologian.

And the council voted unanimously to erase Hans-von-Wolzogen-Straße, named after Wagner’s close friend, a notorious racist. It will now be known as Friedelind-Wagner-Straße after the composer’s granddaughter who fled Hitler’s Germany.

Update your address books accordingly.




  • william osborne says:

    A meaningful gesture. Thank you.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    I always found it strange that von Wolzogen had dodged the bullet, so to speak.

  • Frank says:

    a gesture, and totally meaningless. everyone knows the sentiments that Bayreuth is built on, this merely adds a veneer to it

  • YY says:

    In principle I find it a right action, but I wonder how long can they keep the festival for the infamous racist and antisemite Richard Wagner?

  • M McAlpine says:

    Good sentiments. Now what about the vicious anti-semitic Wagner himself?

    • John Borstlap says:

      That was what I was thinking. It looks as cautious steps towards that one, terrible, increasingly necessary decision, that nobody dares to take – cancelling Wagner at his own theatre.

      • Tamino says:

        “increasingly necessary”?
        Only if you are one of today’s snowflakes, having grown up with the belief, that generally complex and painful sentiments are to be countered with declaring them illegal. A mental trick copied from that big bird, an ostrich, who stick their head into the sand when danger approaches, thus making the danger disappear. Clever!

        Happy now?

  • James Weiss says:

    Gosh, it only took 77 years!

  • Robert Holmen says:

    It will make for an awkward town council meeting when some finds out Richard W. was an anti-semite.

    • John Borstlap says:

      it will be a scene worthy of Monty Python.

    • Tamino says:

      Now imagine the scene in the US Senate, when the US of A has to be cancelled, because they found out that their country was created based on slavery and illegal land grabs.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Imagine the unpleasantly-surprised faces all around – ‘How was that possible? with such a beautiful constitution? What did we miss?’

  • Peter San Diego says:

    It was highly apropos of them to replace an antisemitic Lutheran with a heroic Lutheran willing to sacrifice himself rather than betray his humane ethos. Bonhoeffer was hanged in the Flossenburg concentration camp, less than a month before the end of the war in Europe. His fellow anti-Nazi activist, the jurist Hans von Dohnanyi (Ernst’s eldest son and Christoph’s father) was killed the same day in Sachsenhausen.

  • CleferClefer says:

    Uh huh. So this means Hitler didn’t happen then?

  • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

    I would suggest naming a street after Max Lorenz – the heldentenor who succeeded in spite of being openly bisexual married to an openly Jewish woman.

  • CSOA Insider says:

    Antisemitism, in all its dark forms, and every form of racism and prejudice should be banned from human society.

    Bayreuth should launch of a series of conferences and exhibitions to investigate Wagner’s antisemitism, and put the spotlight on its connection to the composer’s music.

    • John Borstlap says:

      There’s quite a difference between RW’s antisemitism and the variety that followed.

      RW’s antisemitism was a cultural critique, clothed in racist terms. It was a protest against the 19C development of the materialist world view. His critique was well-founded but his explanation obviously idiotic.

      • John Borstlap says:


        RW’s antisemitism has been the subject of numerous conferences, books, discussions, quarrels, research projects, since WW II.