Wagner, Wieland, born 05-01-1917 in Bayreuth, was the elder of two sons of Siegfried and Winifred Wagner and grandson of composer Richard Wagner. Wieland began his directorial career before World War II, working on operas by his father and grandfather. His innovative approach did not become clear until after the war. His design for the 1937 Bayreuth production of Parsifal, for example, was conservative, though it did have film projections during the transformation scenes. When the Bayreuth Festival reopened after the war in 1951, Wieland and his brother Wolfgang became festival directors in place of their mother, whose association with Adolf Hitler (did you know) had made her unacceptable. Wieland’s own past was, however, suppressed. The revolutionary productions evoked extreme views both for and against. In 1941, he married the dancer and choreographer Gertrude Reissinger. They had four children Iris (born. 1942), Wolf-Siegfried (born. 1943), Nike (born. 1945) and Daphne (born. 1946). Late in his life, Wieland had a love affair with the much younger Anja Silja, one of the singers he had recruited for Bayreuth. Wieland joined already in 1933 the Hitler youth and the NSDAP in 1938, number 6078301, and was personally be freed of army duty by Adolf Hitler.
He was working in the Institute for Psychical Examination from September 1944 until April 1945 in the concentration camp of Bayreuth. In this camp stayed and died many labor slaves working for the V2 construction. Winifred Wagner’s close friendship with Hitler meant that, as a teenager and young man, Wieland knew the dictator as “Uncle Wolf”. His family connections allowed him to avoid the draft in the war. Instead, he was a deputy civilian leader of the Bayreuth satellite of the Flossenbürg concentration camp. After the war he dissociated himself from the NSDAP and the Nazis. In 1965, he was awarded the Pour le Mérite.
Death and burial ground of Wagner, Wieland.
Wieland Wagner died at the age 49, of lung cancer, on 17-10-1966 and is buried in the family grave on the Stadtfriedhof of Bayreuth.