Letter to the New York Times

From Sol Gittleman
professor at Tufts University
Winchester, Mass.

Michael White’s comment [in the Times, Feb. 11] that Wagner’s Die Meistersinger has been “hi-jacked by Adolf Hitler” sent me back to Wagner’s virulent anti-Semitic essay Das Judentum in der Musik (Jewishness in Music), written in 1850 and greatly expanded by him in 1869, just to let the public know that he hadn’t changed his mind.

Hitler didn’t have to hi-jack Wagner: he hated Jews early and late in his life and would have been a willing and despicable genius in the service of Nazism, had he lived in another time.