The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/h/hitler.adolf/oss-papers/text/oss-sb-fwagner-01


_Interviews with Friedlinde Wagner, New York City:_

Friedlinde Wagner is the granddaughter of Richard Wagner 
and the daughter of Winifred and Siegfried Wagner. Her 
mother became interested in the Nazi movement about 
1923 and was warmly welcomed by Hitler because of her 
family and the social contacts she was able to provide. 
Hitler visited the Wagner home "Wahnfried" shortly after. 
It was the first time that Friedlinde had ever seen him. She 
was six years old at the time but still remembers him very 
clearly on account of the costume which was strange to her. 
Hitler wore his Bavarian leather pants with suspenders and 
the short socks which are not common in Bayreuth. He looked 
very funny to her and she was much interested in his mission. 
She does not remember what was discussed but she remembers 
that his teeth were extremely bad and that he was very 
awkward and ill at ease. The family talked about him after 
his departure and also found him very amusing. Winifred 
thought him a diamond in the rough while Siegfried considered 
him a fraud and an up-start. Neither one has changed their 
minds in the course of time. In the years that followed 
Hitler was a regular and frequent visitor at "Wahnfried" 
and it became as near to being a home as any he has contacted 
since his mother died.

The entire Wagner family addresses him in terms of "Du" and 
Winifred even to this day calls him by the nickname he had 
adopted, "Wolf". He seems to be very much at home in the 
Wagner household and has often stayed there without his 
guards. This was all arranged in the greatest secrecy and he 
usually came with his entire entourage early in the evening 
and then drive off to some Inn where all arrangements had 
been made and then later return alone with his chauffeur. 
When he stayed overnight at "Wahnfried" he usually occupied 
a small guest cottage next to the large house. In later years, 
particularly since he has become Chancellor, this guest cottage 
was not adequate to his needs and he has enlarged the original 
cottage and built another in which to house his staff.

The entire Wagner family has often been invited to the 
Chancellery and to Munich and to Berchtesgaden.. They 
have strict orders from Hitler that they must call on him 
whenever they pass through Berlin when he is there. The 
result is that they have all visited him informally a great 
many times and have seen him under unusual conditions. 
Hitler has always been very gracious to them on such 
occasions and has invariably invited them to meals or 
parties and encouraged them to prolong their visit.

There has always been considerable friction between 
Hitler and Friedlinde. From the very beginning she thought 
him amusing but never came under his charm. If anything, 
there has been a note of antagonism which, according to her 
story, has often been verbalized. This antagonism may be 
due to the fact that from the very first meeting Hitler 
seemed to be attracted more to her younger sister than 
to herself. He always paid a great of attention to the 
sister and he would do almost anything she requested. 
One has the feeling that there is an underlying jealousy 
which has not been consciously faced.

00011293.gif  page 2

Hitler was always a regular attendant at the Bayreuth 
festivals and always stayed at 'Wahnfried". From an early 
date he was always anxious to mingle with the cast. A 
special restaurant was opened for them and Hitler frequently 
went their for his meals and lingered on afterwards in order 
to talk to the prominent actors and actresses. He usually 
used these occasions to tell about all the great things he 
was going to do and especially what he would do for the 
festivals after he became Chancellor. What he did do when 
that time arrived was to make Bayreuth into an armed 
camp. Special armed guard regiment was thrown for 
blocks around "Wahnfried" and even the Wagner family 
had to get special passes from the Gestapo in order to 
get in and out of their home. Guard stations were set up 
on all the roads leading into the town and all cars were 
stopped for purposes of identification and mission. 
Anti-aircraft batteries were set up in the hills 
surrounding Bayreuth, the place bristles with men 
in uniform. When all this came to the attention of the 
Wagners they asked Hitler why he felt such precautions 
were necessary. He replied that the Czechs would know 
that he was attending the performances and that since 
they were only a few miles from the Czech border, all 
these precautions were necessary because one could never 
tell when they would attack. As time went on, more and 
more precautions were taken although no one else could 
see any danger of Germany being attacked by the Czechs. 
Nevertheless Hitler always insisted there was a real 
danger and the others could not appreciate it because 
they did not know the Czechs.

Friedlinde was at home when Hitler visited the family 
shortly after signing the Munich agreement. She said he 
was in a positive rage and could not think of names bad 
enough to describe Chamberlain and Delaudier [sic]. He 
said he had done his utmost to get them to fight by 
continually increasing his demands but that instead 
of fighting they kept giving in, that one just couldn't 
fight someone who refused to take an insult. The family 
was dismayed to hear him talk in this manner after all 
his public speeches concerning his desire for peace. Hitler 
insisted this was the opportune time and that since there 
was going to be a war it might as well be now.

Hitler was present at the Bayreuth festival at the time 
Dollfuss was murdered in 1934. There was great activity 
at "Wahnfried" all day with special messengers coming 
and going. At the performance, he invited the Wagners to 
sit in his box but he paid no attention whatever to what 
was going on. He was always asking one of his attendants 
for the latest telephone communications and whispering 
to Goering and Goebbels. When the news finally arrived 
that Dollfuss had been murdered, he left the performance 
with his staff and went to the house. When the Wagners 
returned home, he was extremely nervous and somewhat 
incoherent. His chief aim seemed to be to get down to 
the actor's restaurant as quickly as possible in order 
that he could mingle with the celebrities and create 
the impression that he had had nothing to do with it. 
Later that night there was talk about the future of 
Austria and the murder of Dollfuss. When Winifred 
asked him if he intended to annex Austria he laughed 
and said that he would sometime but that the time 
was not yet ripe. That the murder of Dollfuss was only 
the first step in his plan and that it would take four to 
five years before everything was ready. His performance 
on that day antagonized Friedlinde still further for she 
came to the conclusion that he did not come to the 
festivals through love of Wagner but only to show 
himself and use the festival as a screen for underhanded 

00011294.gif  page 3

         Another source of antagonism which probably goes 
back much further was due to the fact that the children 
were very much restricted in their activities while Hitler 
was a guest at "Wahnfried". According to Friedlinde he 
never went to bed until 5:30 in the morning and then 
would sleep until 11:00 or 11:30. They were forbidden to 
make any noise or play outside the house until Hitler raised 
the shade in his bedroom window. If their dog barked before 
that time the guards would come rushing in and insist that 
the dog had to be quiet because he would disturb the Fuehrer. 
They could not even take the car out of the garage because 
the sound of the motor would disturb him, etc. Even their 
meals had to be arranged to suit his convenience.

Hitler's breakfast usually consisted of a glass of milk and 
two slices of dry bread. Sometimes he would eat lunch a 
half an hour later. That did not seem to disturb him. She 
claims that it is not true that Hitler is a strict vegetarian 
and says that he has frequently eaten meat at her house. 
In general, he prefers to eat vegetables but now and. then 
when meat is served to the other members of the family 
he would take some and say that he just wanted a taste 
of it. She further claims that his vegetarian diet began 
after the death of Geli. Before that time she has distinct 
recollections of his eating a great deal of meat and that 
he was particularly fond of Leberknoedl. He used to eat 
large quantities of these and when they knew in advance 
that he was coming, her mother would always arrange to 
have this dish.  She also remembers that before this time 
he drank a good deal of tea and she remembers, as a very 
small child, how she and her sister would sit at the table 
and anxiously await the time for Hitler to sweeten it. In 
those days he always put seven teaspoons full of sugar 
into a cup of tea and the children were fascinated to see 
whether on some occasion he would lose his count. But he 
never did. She also commented on the tremendous amount 
of chocolate he consumed throughout the day. He had the 
firm of Hamann prepare a special kind of chocolate for 
him and on an average, he consumed about two pounds of 
these every day. Before the death of Geli, he also drank 
some of the regular beer but gave it up shortly after her 
death and then later had a special light beer prepared for 
himself by a Munich brewery. He was always very fond of 
small pastries, particularly the very sweet ones and he 
would consume large quantities of these while he was at 
her home and often took whatever remained with him to 
eat on his journey. She says that she had never had a meal 
in the Chancellery at which Nudelsuppe was not served.

        According to her story, all kinds of precautions are 
taken in the preparation of his food. He has a secret fear 
that he will be poisoned and only one cook is permitted to 
prepare his food. The only exception to this in Berlin is that 
Mrs. Goebbels can cook special dishes for him and these are 
mostly of the Austrian variety. She makes great use of this 
prerogative in playing up to Hitler and getting him to do 
favors for her. While at Wahnfried, Hitler eats with the 
family and has never made any fuss or taken precautions 
against being poisoned. He takes great precautions about 
his health in general. He is always afraid of his stomach 
and always likes some kind of medicine at meals. In the 
Chancellery he has a complete operating room with all 
the latest equipment and a staff is on twenty-four hour 
duty with instructions to keep everything in readiness in 
case Hitler should need immediate attention. It is also 
equipped for all kinds of dentistry.

00011295.gif  page 4

        The amusing part of it is that Hitler almost poisoned 
himself between 1933 and 1935. One day when he was 
visiting at "Wahnfried" Winifred had a headache and 
decided to take an aspirin tablet. As she was about to take 
it, Hitler saw her with the bottle in her hand. he became very 
excited and rushed over and grabbed the bottle and demanded 
to know what it was that she was taking and who told her to 
take them. She was amazed at his conduct and told him he was 
just taking an aspirin for her headache and asked if there was 
anything unusual in that. To this Hitler retorted that one cannot 
be too careful about these things and asked if she had not heard 
of his experiences. It seems that some years ago he was visiting 
an old Party member at one of the lakes near Munich. They sat 
down to meals, his host always put something into his mouth. 
Hitler's curiosity got the best of him and he asked his old friend 
what it was that he was taking. The friend said that he had 
always been bothered with stomach disorders and that he 
had been to a number of doctors who had not been able to help 
him and finally he found this old country doctor who prepared 
these capsules according to a secret prescription and that 
these had cured him. Hitler then informed his host that he 
had always been bothered with indigestion and his host urged 
him to try some of his capsules. Hitler did so and did get relief 
from them. He then ordered a private stock from the doctor and 
took them regularly before every meal. After he came to power, 
his health became worse and worse and he called in his private 
doctor who in turn called specialists. In spite of all their efforts, 
Hitler's condition continued to grow worse and his appetite 
failed him almost entirely. For a time he was under constant 
care of his physicians and one day as he was coming in to 
dinner, the doctor happened to see him take one of his 
capsules. He demanded to know what Hitler was taking and 
Hitler assured him it was a medicine he had been taking 
for years and that they worked wonders for his indigestion. 
The doctor insisted on analyzing the contents of the capsules 
and found them to be nothing but methyl alcohol. It turned 
out that this alcohol was gradually poisoning him and wearing 
down his resistance. After telling this tale, he said, "You cannot 
be too careful about medicines, you see, and you must promise 
me never to take any medicine which is not prescribed by a 
first-rate physician.

In July, 1933, he visited "Wahnfried" and whether due to the 
alcohol poisoning or other factors, seemed rather downcast. 
He talked at length about getting old and complained bitterly 
that 10 years of valuable time had been lost between the Beer 
Hall Putsch in 1923 and his succession to power. This was all 
very regrettable since he predicted that it would take him 22 
years to get things in adequate shape so that he could turn them 
over to his successor. Since he had lost these 10 valuable years, 
he would have to work harder than ever. He had no particular 
reason for picking 22 years, except that he had figured it out 
that that was the total. It was only a short time before this 
visit that he had finally had his finger nails manicured. In 
earlier times, he always had vast quantities of dirt under 
them and they looked like "Kraut und Rueben". But once he 
had had them manicured he kept them so.

According to Miss Wagner, Geli's death had a tremendous 
effect on Hitler. For several years previous to this event, 
it was his custom to spend Christmas Eve with the Wagner 
family. The first Christmas after Geli's death, they expected 
him but he did not arrive. They waited for some time and then 
telephoned his apartment in Munich. The only information 
they were able to obtain however was that he had left 
Munich presumably to go to Bayreuth and they had no 
other knowledge of his whereabouts. There was

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.