Bruno Walter Writes to Wilhelm Furtwangler

Bruno Walter Writes to Wilhelm Furtwangler

Bruno Walter, the conductor, was sometimes mentioned by Adolf Hitler in his speeches complaining about Jewish influence on music in Germany. Hitler would mention Walter’s name, then add, “alias Schlesinger.” (Walter had changed his birth name.)

In 1946, Walter, then living in the United States, wrote the following to Wilhelm Furtwangler, the conductor who had supported the Nazis:

“Please bear in mind that your art was used over the years as an extremely effective means of foreign propaganda for the regime of the devil; that you, thanks to your personal fame and great talent, performed valuable service for this regime and that in Germany itself the presence and activities of an artist of your rank helped to provide cultural and moral credit to those terrible criminals or at least gave considerable help to them…. In contrast to that, of what significance was your helpful behavior in individual cases of Jewish distress?”

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