Brigitte Hamann | Granta

Brigitte Hamann

Brigitte Hamann studied history and German literature in Münster and Vienna. She was the author of several books on Austrian history, including Hitler’s Vienna: A Dictator’s Apprenticeship, which was a critically acclaimed international best-seller. She died in 2016.


Winifred Wagner

Brigitte Hamann

Translated by Alan J. Bance

This is 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 relatives in Berlin. 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, Hitler made a pilgrimage to Wagner’s grave in Bayreuth, and so began a close, life-long friendship between ‘Winnie’ and ‘Wolf’. She became a founder member of the Nazi Party, and from 1933 the town of Bayreuth during the festival was the centre of the German political world. Drawing on previously untapped sources, this book presents a portrait of an extraordinary woman as well as offering revealing glimpses of the ‘private Hitler’, allowing the best insight yet into his relationship with Bayreuth and its central place in twentieth-century German history.