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'Hitler connection' stops Bavarian music award

Published: 12 Nov 2012 11:05 GMT+01:00

Reports have emerged that Max and Maria Wutz, who founded the Bavarian "Day of Volksmusik" and whose money continues to fund the prize, were lifelong supporters of Adolf Hitler and dedicated Nazis.

On Monday, the Hanns-Seidel Foundation, which has close links to the Bavarian ruling Christian Social Union, told the Münchener Merkur newspaper it would suspend the prize until light had been shed light on the murky pasts of the event's patrons.

"Until the assessment has been presented no further prizes will be awarded," a spokesman for the foundation told the paper.

The "Day of Volksmusik", held each year at the foundation headquarters in Wildbad Kreuth on the German-Austrian border, awards prizes to musicians and groups deemed to have made a special contribution to Bavarian folk music.

But Der Spiegel magazine claimed on Monday that the event was still being financed with money left to the foundation by the Wutz couple, dedicated Nazis from Berg in Upper Bavaria.

Max Wutz was a lifelong servant of the Nazi party from its very beginnings in the early 1920s, the magazine reported.

He occasionally acted as Hitler's personal chaperone and contributed money to the Völkischer Beobachter Nazi party newspaper.

His wife Maria was equally dedicated and reportedly once said it was the "presumptuous cheek of the Jews" that had prompted her to join Hitler's party.

After the couple died, an "Order of Blood" medal was found in their villa - it was only given to those who had been involved in Hitler's Munich putsch of 1923 where he tried and failed to instigate a revolution. It resulted in the jail term during which he wrote Mein Kampf.

Maria, a trained singer, even performed Wagner's Lohengrin for Hitler in 1933 on the tenth anniversary of the failed take-over, the magazine said.

When she died in 1983, she left the childless couple's entire fortune and estate to the Hanns-Seidel Foundation, a political education institute founded in the 1960s "in the service of democracy, peace and development," according to their website.

On taking possession of the couple's villa on the shores of Starnberg Lake, foundation employees disposed of the Nazi medals, weapons and memorabilia stored there, and promptly sold the property, Der Spiegel said.

The Hanns-Seidel Foundation then obeyed the Wutz couple's dying wish that their fortune be used to establish a celebration of folk music, with the first event held in 1984.

Despite the clear evidence in the couple's villa, the Hanns-Seidel Foundation told the magazine they had only been aware of the Wutz couple's murky past since 2010, after which their names were deleted from public announcements about the music event.

But the foundation never made any public announcements distancing it from the Nazi couple, or even issued any internal communication on the matter.

Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer of the CSU and the party's honorary chairman Edmund Stoiber are both members of the foundation's extended board.

Both politicians expressed surprise about the direct funding links to some of Hitler's earliest and staunchest supporters, telling Der Spiegel they had been given no information about the Wutz couple by the foundation.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

15:23 November 12, 2012 by bernie1927
These people have done their penance and have tried to help their community. Why - with 20/20 hindsight - are they still being punished? Remember, at the time when Hitler came to power, many decent people had set their hopes on his success. Is there never an end to this German self punishment? So, she sang for him. Big deal!!
16:59 November 12, 2012 by tercel
@ 15:23 November 12, 2012 by bernie1927

I could not have said it better myself!!

There comes a time when the flagellant realizes all he is doing is killing himself. 65+ years is is long enough for this self punishment, the Japanese got over their self punishment a long time ago it's time for the Germans to move on.

P.S. The communists have murdered one hell of a lot more people than the nazis ever dreamed of killing and the communists don't seem to care about it.
18:12 November 12, 2012 by Englishted
@tercel

On your P.S. the nazis held power from 1933 till 1945 ,12 years which communist killed on that scale? and which communists set up state run death camps with gas chambers and ovens?

On you other point I agree hindsight is a easy thing to have when many Germans we with adolf in the "good" times up till 1942 when many stepped away.I don't think the Japanese ever had self punishment as they still have war criminals honoured by a visit every year.
20:07 November 12, 2012 by raandy
Perhaps the founders were Hitler supporters, so what ,different time different people.These people today are not followers of Adolf. Ridiculous to punish these people for someone else's past deeds.
21:02 November 12, 2012 by tercel
18:12 November 12, 2012 by Englishted

On 12 January 2010, the court of appeals in Kiev opened hearings into the "fact of genocide-famine Holodomor in Ukraine in 1932­33". In May 2009 the Security Service of Ukraine started a criminal case "in relation to the genocide in Ukraine in 1932­33".[34] In a ruling on 13 January 2010 the court found Joseph Stalin and other Bolshevik leaders guilty of genocide against the Ukrainians.

Hitler's crimes in Ukraine have been better documented and are better known. Stalin once said that history is written by the winners. As a victor, Stalin's USSR was able to hide its genocide of Ukrainians. After the war Stalin said that 7 million Soviet citizens died but we know he was concealing the true higher figures. Nikita Krushchev in 1961 set the death toll in the USSR at 20 million and this seems to be a credible and accurate statistic. Recently Moscow has quoted figures of 25 and 27 million. These new figures are either sheer propaganda or are based on new information about Stalin's genocide of Ukrainians and other Soviet citizens during the War.

Today all over independent Ukraine there are discoveries of mass murder graves in the suburbs of cities (such as Bykivna in Kiev), and near all the KGB (NKVD) secret police stations throughout Ukraine. The Ukrainian victims of Stalin's Soviet Russia number in the millions. Many Ukrainians are also buried in the mass graves of Siberia. It is unknown how many of these Ukrainian victims of the Soviet system perished during the war years.

As of March 2008, several governments[26] have recognized the actions of the Soviet government as an act of genocide. The joint statement at the United Nations in 2003 has defined the famine of 1932-1933 as the result of actions and policies of the totalitarian regime that caused the deaths of millions of Ukrainians, Russians, Kazakhs and other nationalities in the USSR.[27] On 28 November 2006, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) narrowly passed a law defining the Holodomor as a deliberate act of genocide and made public denial illegal.

There may not have been any gas chambers or ovens but there were many death camps (gulags) in Siberia where million of Ukrainians were sent to die.
21:36 November 12, 2012 by sonriete
So a folk music award is ended because the founders had a murky past?

What would people have them do with the money then?

Isn't this better than if they left the money to the NDP?

Just asking.
00:19 November 13, 2012 by wood artist
Personally I suspect that darn near everything in Germany could at some point be "connected" back to the 1930's, the war, and the Nazi regime. Probably the only exceptions would be recent immigrants, and they probably live in buildings that might have been around, on streets that likely were around.

If these folks had made their money from slave labor (which I suppose is possible) or were actively involved in running a camp, that's one thing. However, in 1933 and thereafter a lot of people thought the regime had some good ideas, and with good cause.

In short, unless this money is clearly tainted, I'd say it's time to move on. It sounds like the festival and prizes are a good thing today, and maybe that's what ought to be considered. After all, what "German" can look back through the family tree to that time and not find relative who "was involved." Maybe they weren't party members or big supporters, but they likely followed the rules of those days. I think it's time to move on.

wa
01:25 November 13, 2012 by grazhdanin
Obviously, everything that Nazis do is evil. Even if it's funding a Volksmusik festival. The festival better not take place and their money should be burned.
02:54 November 13, 2012 by iSlam-mudslime
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
03:06 November 13, 2012 by Onlythetruth
If its all about the music then the reigns of the festival should be handed over to sponsors with no connection to germany's shameful history. Simple, unless the event is in reality essentially a political one. Some traditions die hard even if they are disgraceful ones.
06:31 November 13, 2012 by Anny One again
Your Great Britain and Edward Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton,was responsible for the Death of ca.6.1mio-10.3mio people in India ca.50 Years befor Hitler came in Power. Just alone in India your Empire starve ca.50 mio woman,children & men to Death.thats nearly the same number like the whole 2.WW --Google it---wikipedia.org/wik/Timeline_of_major_famines_in_India_during_British_rule

----wikipedia.org/wiki/Famine_in_India

Even Churchill was responsible for the Death of 6-7mio People between 1942-1945

www.countercurrents.org/polya130611.htm

Spam alert,you have to use google.

But no one from the former colonial powers like to speak about it.Like Portugal,Spain,Belgium,Netherlands,France,Italiy, or their dictatorship before hitler and after until the seventies.like Greece,Portugal,Spain or the Eastblock Countries.Yeah but always point the finger on the Germans.Waiting for the next Nazi Movie.
08:32 November 13, 2012 by ChrisRea
Based on some comments above, I think some facts went unnoticed.

Max and Maria Wutz did not necessarily make their money from slave labour and probably were not actively running a camp, but their were "lifelong supporters of Adolf Hitler and dedicated Nazis". So they did not stopped believing in the Nazi credo and this is probably why they kept the Nazi memorabilia.

As long as the Wutz are not mentioned in connection with the festival, I see no problem in using their money to finance it. That's why I think it is good that since 2010 the organisers stopped mentioning them. Also that they threw away the Nazi memorabilia. Of course, they should have also not mentioned the Wutz between 1984 and 2010. I guess it was plain stupidity, not a try to revive the Nazi ideology.

So, dear people of The Hanns-Seidel Foundation, please make a public statement of being against the Nazi ideology and then carry on with the festival, without using the Wutz name again.
14:18 November 13, 2012 by sonriete
I wonder why this institute should even be required to release dramatic statements opposing the Nazis. their mission statement describes them from their founding as being dedicated "in the service of democracy, peace and development" How can anyone interpret that as being in any way pro Nazi?

For that matter, even though this couple supported the Nazis through the war years, how does that indicate they were "life long" supporters? because they saved memorabilia in their home? If anything this gift seems to me to indicate that perhaps they did grow to embrace peace and democracy in later years, that fact that she left her fortuneto an organization dedicated to supporting peace and democracy seems more relevant to me than that she saved the old photos and awards.
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