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February 19, 1982 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-02-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Readers Forum

Materials submitted to the Readers Forum must be brief. The writer's r acne will be
withheld from publication upon request. No unsigned letters will be published. Materials
will not be returned unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is enclosed.

F
j CASH
FOR YOUR ommonas

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There is no justification to
place Richard Wagner
alongside of mass-murderer
Adolf Hitler. Wagner was a
schizoid personality, and it
is indeed a fact of history
that his scurrilous defama-
tions of Jews and particu-
larly Jewish-descent "com-
petitors" in music, like the
immortal Felix
Mendelssohn-Bartholdy,
remain as a perpetual tar-
nish on Richard Wagner's
own inspired and immortal
musical creations.
However, to ignore some
of the Jewishly-relevant
positive facets of the
Wagnerian personality and
especially of his music is
truly indefensible.

American Red Magen
The award will be given
David for Israel (ARMDI) to Shostak at the ARMDI
International Humanita- annual luncheon April 29 in
rian Award.
New York

ANNOUNCING

Thus, 4ccording to the
then president of the
Jewish Historical Society
of England, Richard
Wagner counted a great

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many close friends
among Jews and persons
of Jewish descent.
Among these was Her-
mann Levi, who was per-
sonally selected by
Wagner to conduct the
premiere of "Parsifal" in
Bayreuth in 1882.

Hermann Levi, be it
noted, was the son of Rabbi
Benedict Levi of the city of
Giessen in the then Grand
Duchy of Hesse and a par-
ticipant in the Napoleonic
Sanhedrin of Jewish Nota-
bles in 1806. Hermann
Levi's fidelity to Judaism_
was expressed in a composi-
tion of the "Veshomru" for
the Sabbath Eve service of
worship.
Richard Wagner's im-
print is not only on the
majestically dramatic
music of his immortal com-
positions, among which
"Tannhaeuser" served as
the inspiration for Dr.
Theodor Herzl's writing of
his "Der Judenstaat" (i.e.
"The Jews' State," not the
"Jewish" State in proper
translation). As Dr. Herzl
reported, whenever his in-
spiration flagged, he
attended the Paris opera in
order to be elevated and
edified by Wagner's music,
upon which he returned
home to continue writing.
Moreover, Richard
Wagner enriched the
liturgy of the synagogue. To
wit, the Jewish composer
Max Spicker incorporated
parts of Wagner's "Rienzi"
into the kedusha of the
Emanuel Synagogual Serv-
ice (New York, 1901).

Friday, February 19, 1982 19

Shostack to Receive ARMDI Humanitarian Award

NEW YORK .— Israel's
Minister of Health, Eliezer
Shostak, has been selected
as the 1982 recipient of the

More Facts on Composer Wagner

Editor, The Jewish News:
Entirely contrary to your
perceptions (Jan. 15 Purely
Commentary) on (Wilhelm)
Richard Wagner, Maestro
Zubin Mehta's courageous
initiation of Wagner's
music in the state of Israel
represented a fight for free-
om, as Chaim Bermant of
the
London Jewish
Chronicle wrote.



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The great Jewish
musicologist Lazare
Saminsky devotes a
whole chapter in his 1934
book "Music of the
Ghetto and the Bible" to
the Jewishness of
Wagner! Saminsky ob-
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Wagner's paternity is
entirely a matter of irrele-
vancy (Ludwig Geyer,
claimed by some eminent
writers to have been
Wagner's natural father,.
not only his stepfather) be-
cause Ludwig Geyer was
not`of Jewish descent, even
though Nietzsche could not
resist the bon mot, that it is
not far from a Geyer to an
Adler. (Geyer=vulture, Ad-
ler=eagle, the latter an ob-
viously Jewishly-favored
name).
Richard Wagner died six
years before Adolf Hitler
was born. That Hitler
idolized Wagner and his
music and sponsored the
Bayreuth music festivals
cannot eradicate the intrin-
sic greatness of Wagner's
music as well as the great
support which that music
consistently enjoyed in
Jewish circles of Germany.

Klaus J. Herrmann
Mt. Royal, Quebec

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