Hitler and Wagner
• Hitler wrote in his first volume of his book Mein Kampf: "At the age of twelve, I saw ... the first opera of my life, Lohengrin. In one instant I was addicted. My youthful enthusiasm for the Bayreuth Master knew no bounds."
• Aged 16, Hitler quit school and spent the next three years being idle. He is said to have spent a tidy proportion of his pocket money on going to the opera. He became passionate about Wagner.
• Wagner's anti-Semitic and fervently nationalistic writings are thought to have had a quasi-religious effect on Hitler. His theories of racial purity were partly drawn from Wagner. According to Wagner: "The Volk has always been the essence of all the individuals who constituted a commonality. In the beginning, it was the family and the races; then the races united through linguistic equality as a nation."
• On January 13, 1933 the newly-elected National Socialist Party celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Richard Wagner's death by staging a grandiose memorial ceremony in Leipzig, the composer's birthplace. Adolf Hitler invited Siegfried Wagner's widow, the English-born Winifred, and her son Wieland to be guests of honor at this event....
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