Anti-Semitic Wagner letter sells in Jerusalem for $34,000

auctioneer Meron Eren with the letterImage copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Wagner would “roll over in his grave” if he knew that a bearded Jew was to profit from his letter, auctioneer Meron Eren said

A letter written by Hitler’s favourite composer Richard Wagner warning about “corrosive” Jewish influence on culture has been auctioned in Jerusalem.

The letter sold for $34,000 (£24,000).

In the April 1869 letter, the anti-Semitic composer tells French philosopher Edouard Schuré that the French know “very little” about Jews.

Wagner’s work contains anti-Semitic, racial purity and misogynist ideas. His music is not banned in Israel but is not played due to public opposition.

The letter was sold as lot 112 at the Kedem auction house in Jerusalem, rising from a starting price of $5,000.

The identity of the buyer was not made public.

In the letter, Wagner wrote that Jewish assimilation into French society meant that it was harder to see that “corroding influence of the Jewish spirit on modern culture”.

The composer was also the author of an infamous anti-Semitic pamphlet entitled “Judaism in music”, written in 1850. In 1869 it was republished under his name.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Richard Wagner was Hitler’s favourite composer

Wagner would “roll over in his grave” if he knew that a Jew with a beard was going to make money from his letter, Meron Eren from the auction house told AFP.

Despite the effective boycott of Wagner’s compositions in Israel, some Israelis would like his music to be played there.

“It’s easy to boycott him because most of the people don’t listen to his music,” Jonathan Livny, head of the Israel Wagner Society told AFP.

The composer had become a “symbol of the Holocaust”, he added.

In 2011 an Israeli orchestra played a Wagner composition in Germany. At the time, Israeli Chamber Orchestra Conductor Roberto Paternostro said that while Wagner’s ideology was “terrible”, the aim was “to divide the man from his art”.


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