Winifred Wagner's story is a remarkable one. The Welsh-born orphan became Richard Wagner's daughter-in-law, one of Adolf Hitler's closest personal friends. Brigitte Hamann presents the first major, unbiased biography of the First Lady of Hitler's Bayreuth. Born Winifred Williams in 1897, she was adopted, aged nine, by distant English relatives and in 1915 the eighteen-year-old Winifred married into the Wagner family when they needed an heir to secure the Wagner heritage and the festival site at Bayreuth. In 1923, shortly before the Munich Putsch, Hitler made a pilgrimage to Wagner's grave in Bayreuth. And so began a close, lifelong friendship between 'Winnie' and 'Wolf'. She became a founder member of the Nazi party and from 1933 the town of Bayreuth at festival time was the centre of the German political world. Described as 'the last Nazi in Germany', she remained loyal to the memory of 'Wolf' till her death in 1980. Drawing on previously untapped sources, this book presents a portrait of an extraordinary woman, as well as revealing glimpses of the 'private Hitler', offering the best insight yet into his relationship with Bayreuth and its central place in twentieth-century German history.
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