London (Jun. 23)
According to the Evening Standard here, Frau Winifred Wagner, the English-born widow of Siegfried Wagner and director of the Bayreuth Festival, has denied the rumor prevalent on the Continent that there is a romance between her and Adolf Hitler, or that their friendship has been affected by her engagement of two Jewish singers for the festival next month.
Frau Wagner stated:
“I have known Hitler a long time. There is an old friendship between us, but love, no. We have never been in love. I know there has been a lot of talk about our supposed romance, but there is no truth in it, not a word.
THE BEST FOR BAYREUTH
“I have not seen Herr Hitler for about two months, when I had a talk with him about foreign artists appearing in Germany. We did not discuss the question of the Jews in the musical world, and I can assure you that the engagement of Kipnis and List to sing at the Bayreuth Festival will not in any way affect a friendship that has never been more than a friendship.
“Alexander Kipnis and Emanuel List are Americans and are among the best singers in the world. I have engaged them because we must try to get the best for Bayreuth.
“I believe that they are Jews, but all that matters to me is that they have wonderful voices. Not for a moment do I anticipate any consequences through having Jews taking part in the festival. I am hopeful that art will triumph over nationality.”
Frau Wagner’s statement has created tremendous interest here and on the Continent, as it will be remembered that she was the woman who in many ways was responsible for Hitler’s rise to power. Her desire for a title in past years is said by many to have been her reason for boosting Hitler’s stock and introducing him to the right circles in Germany after Hitler was imprisoned following the Munich Beer Hall putsch.
The questions now being debated in many circles here is whether Frau Wagner will be as anti-Semitic as her family was well known to be. If she is true to her word and employs Jews at the Bayreuth Festival it is a matter of conjecture whether Herr Hitler will turn round on her, as he has done on many of his old friends and aides, and cancel the famous musical festival.