Wagner The Anti-semite - A Complex Relationship

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 30 August 2015 | 7:18:00 pm

Taken from "Think Classical"'s essay Richard Wagner: Supreme Annihilator of the German War Gods

The Berlin anti-Semitic unrest of 1879-81 is mentioned in Know Thyself published in February of 1881, where Wagner dismisses it as "dunkel und Wahnvoll"—"sinister and steeped in delusion". Wagner also obliquely mentions an anti-Semitic pastor referred to only as "unsere Herren Geistlichen ... in ihrer Agitation gegen die Juden" (our dear clergymen in the agitation against the Jews). He was referring to pastor Adolf Stöcker who founded a party called the Christian-Social Workers Party, later renamed the Christian Social Party (see p. 259 of Stefanie Hein's Richard Wagners Kunstprogramm im nationalkuturellen Kontext).

Cosima records Wagner's reaction in her diary on the 14th of November, 1879 to a sermon by Adolf Stöcker:

A second sermon from Pastor Stoecker brought R[ichard] to exclaim: Alas! Not just the Jews, but every creature seeks to further their own interest. It is us, we of the state, who condone such things. So too the stock exchange, in the beginning a free, decent institute—what have we permitted to become of that? And he spoke of the current debts that the states gets into and how that once again only drives the evil speculative spirits!

Eine zweite Rede vom Pfarrer Stoecker bringt R. darauf, aufzurufen: Ach! Nicht die Juden sind es, ein jedes Wesen sucht sein Interesse zu fördern, wir sind es: wir der Staat, die wir solches gestatten. So auch die Börse, anfänglich eine freie gute Institution, was haben wir daraus werden lassen. Und er erzählt von der jetzigen Anleihe, welche der Staat macht und die wiederum nur ein Vorschub diesem bösen spekulativen Geiste leistet!