“He who does not howl with the wolf”: Composer Richard Wagner’s great-grandson speaks out

Gottfried Wagner, great grandson of the composer Richard Wagner, in 2013 (© Wikipedia)

In 1997, a book appeared in German that provided more troubling insights into the dark reputation of the Nazi cult around the composer Richard Wagner. But this time the criticism came from the composer’s own great-grandson, Gottfried Wagner. His autobiographical book, “He who does not howl with the wolf”, claims that his family’s support for Hitler went far beyond mere opportunism. At the time, Gottfried’s father Wolfgang was director of the annual Wagner Opera Festival at Bayreuth, a prestigious institution fiercely guarded by the family since the composer’s death. In this interview with Gottfried Wagner, he tells of the breakdown of his ties with the family and his shock at learning as a child about his grandmother’s close relationship with Adolf Hitler.

Producer: Marijke van der Meer

Broadcast: 3 April 3, 1998