Outcry Kills Plans for Wagner, Israel Reconciliation

Composer's great-granddaughter calls off Israel trip
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2010 4:50 AM CDT
Richard (Wilhelm) Wagner (1813 - 1883), the German composer.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The great-granddaughter of Hitler's favorite composer has called off a visit to Israel amid a public outcry. Katharina Wagner had planned to announce that the Israel Chamber Orchestra would be invited to play at an annual festival in Germany celebrating Richard Wagner's music. Israeli orchestras have been boycotting the anti-Semitic composer's music for 70 years, and the idea of breaking the taboo met widespread hostility, the Independent reports.

Wagner, who attacked Jewish composers and Jews in general in his 1850 essay Jewishness in Music, had a strong influence on the Nazi regime's ideas, although Katharina has made efforts to confront her family's past and the Wagner festival's historical links to the Nazi regime. Many Israelis, however, feel that the Wagner boycott shouldn't be broken. "Wagner cannot apologize. It's a closed book," the director of the Simon Wiesenthal center says. "There is no way of making up for his anti-Semitic writings."

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