Wagner-Williams, Winifred, born 23-06-1897 in Hastings, England, was the daughter of the English author and journalist John Williams and the German actress Emily Florence.
Her parents died early and after she lived in an orphanage she was adopted by the elderly Karl Klindworth and his wife. Klindworth had been a pupil of Franz Liszt and a friend of Richard Wagner and he was in contact with the Wagner family in Bayreuth. (Did you know). In 1915 she married Wagner’s son Siegfried. Siegfried was 28 years her senior and preferred homosexual relations , but his mother Cosima, she died very old age of 92,
01-04-1930, more or less forced him to marry and have children . In a few years they had four children and then Siegfried left her bed. In 1923 Winifred “Winnichen” met Adolf Hitler (see Alois Hitler), then no more than a young agitator. She was soon convinced that he was to save Germany and when he was imprisoned in Landsberg she sent him the writing materials that enabled him to write down “Mein Kampf”. After Siegfried’s death in 1930 she took over the organisation of the Festspiele in Bayreuth
. At that time Arturo Toscanini
was like an uncle for her children, but he refused to return to Bayreuth after the Nazi’s came to power and Hitler provided financial means to continue the festival. Arturo Toscanini died age 89 on 16-01-1957. Heinz Tietjen he died age 86, on 30-11-1967, in Baden Baden,
became artistic director and Hitler and many other prominent Nazi’s were frequent visitors. Winifred became a member of the Nazi Party in 1926, number 29349. Wilhelm Fürtwangler was believed conductor Winnifred herself helped many other people during the war, among them jews. She simply couldn’t believe that Hitler knew about the many terrible things the Nazi’s did. Sometimes she tried to interfere with the Führer on behalf of other people, but Hitler didn’t like this and after 1940 they lost contact, although her sons Wieland and Wolfgang still visited him in Berlin . In 1944 she organised the Festspiele for the last time. After the war she was excluded from the festival because of the friendship with Hitler and when the festival was revived in 1950 her sons were in charge.
She was on bad terms with Wieland and Wolfgang and in 1975 Wolfgang even denied her access to the Festspiele. She never regretted her friendship with Hitler and refused to see him as a bad person until her death in 1980. She was not allowed to say the name Adolf Hitler anymore and since, when she talked about him, she called him USA, “Unser Saliger Adolf”, or “Our Blessed Adolf”.
Death and burial ground of Wagner-Williams, Winifred Majorie “Winnichen”.
Winifred Wagner died at the old age of 82, on 03-05-1980 and is buried in the Wagner family grave on the Stadfriedhof in Bayreuth.