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Aj Congress Protests Broadcast on Program About Hitler Admirer

July 28, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The American Jewish Congress has protested the rebroadcast by Channel 13 of a program about Hitler admirer Winifred Wagner, scheduled to be aired tomorrow as part of the station’s month-long “Salute to Women.” Channel 13 is a public service station. In a letter to Robert Kotlowitz, president of WNET-TV, Jacqueline Levine, chairperson of the AJ Congress National Governing Council, declared:

“The American Jewish Congress is deeply disturbed that Channel 13 is presenting, for a second time, ‘The Confessions of Winfred Wagner,’ described in your ‘Community Alert’ as ‘a close friend of Adolf Hitler for 22 years who reveals why she became a Nazi and other facts about her life. This wretched and deeply offensive film when first broadcast resulted in numerous letters to us from our members in the Metropolitan area expressing their deep dismay at its presentation. It is doubly distressing that it should be honored with a second showing.”

Ms. Levine added: “The Nazi experience could have been covered by any number of outstanding films showing how Jewish women lived and died in the camps. To present a glorification of Hitler – which is the clear purpose and intent of ‘The Confessions of Winifred Wagner’ – is an obscenity that degrades Channel 13 and its ‘Salute to Women.”

Mrs. Levine wrote to Channel 13 on July 11. One week later Channel 13 replied with a note from Jayne Word of the station’s viewer service. Miss Ward wrote: “It is difficult to rebut your disturbance that Channel 13 chose to air “Confessions of Winifred Wagner” but felt you might be interested in the attached press clip describing why the “Reflections of the Third Reich” series was presented by Public TV in the first place.”

Attached to Miss Ward’s note was a clipping from the Village Voice of Sept. 3, 1979, headlined, “The Many Faces of Fascism.” The author of the article, Andrew Sarris, described the film as a “bizarre interview with Richard Wagner’s daughter-in-law, who turns out to be unrepentant about her long friendship with Hitler.”

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