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Hitler’s justly forgotten opera attempt goes on display in Austria

Hitler’s justly forgotten opera attempt goes on display in Austria

Adolf Hitler’s favourite composer was Richard Wagner, the fact is well-documented. However, another fact – the Nazi leader attempted to write an opera himself – comes as surprise, The Local Austria reports.

A new exhibition on the “Young Hitler” set to be opened in Austria this weekend. The visitors could see one page of the opera work written by Adolf. Hitler entitled it “Wieland der Schmied”.

Reportedly, the manuscript was written after 20-year-old or so Hitler had had only a few months of piano lessons, says Christian Rapp, one of the exhibition’s curators. A piano sketch of the first page, made by one of Hitler’s few friends as a young man, August Kubizek, dates from 1908.

The curators said they hoped the unusual exhibition would help shed light on Hitler’s character, and also dispel the ideas that underpinned his genocidal ideology.

The exhibition, entitled “Young Hitler: the Formative Years of a Dictator”, opens in Sankt Poelten in Lower Austria on Saturday and among the exhibits is a range of objects belonging to Nazi leader collected by Kubizek between 1907 and 1920.

Kubizek’s ‘Hitler collection’ is full of rarities

Mr Kubizek’s collection proves again that Hitler had grandiose ambitions. The collector initially kept rarities as mementos of his own youth before later realising they might be of historical importance.

The collection include letters and postcards written by Hitler to Kubizek, as well as paintings and architectural sketches by the young man whose artistic abilities regularly fell short of his unlimited ambitions.

He sat the entrance examination for admission to Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts in both 1907 and 1908, but failed both times. Nevertheless, Hitler was always quick to find a scapegoat for his failures, said Rapp.

“Whenever something went wrong, it was always somebody else’s fault, not his own,” the expert said.

In addition to tracing Hitler’s personal history, the exhibition also seeks to explore the political and social context in Austria at the turn of the 20th century.

In particular, it tries to explain how many of the ideas that would gain such prominence in Nazi ideology — racism, anti-Semitism, militarism — had long since reached the mainstream of Austrian society, including among
sections of the left.

“Ways of thinking take so long to become widespread in a society, and they take as long to be dismantled… we will have work at that for decades,” Rapp said.