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Monday, May 18, 2015


The Mondays @ Six programme at St Clements tonight (May 18) will feature Chris Nicholson, talking about his book Richard and Adolf.

Did Richard Wagner incite Adolf Hitler to commit the Holocaust? Is there such a thing as Nazi Music, Third Reich Music or proto-nazi or otherwise anti-Semitic music and art? Can Music be Evil? Why did Adolf Hitler idolize Richard Wagner? Was Richard Wagner, the great composer, also Richard Wagner, the proto-Nazi?

These and other issues are treated in a scholarly way in Richard and Adolf by Christopher Nicholson.

The music of composer Richard Wagner is banned in Israel, as he is regarded as a precursor of the Nazi ideology. In Richard and Adolf, Nicholson explores the anti-Semitic elements of Wagner’s polemical works and his music, and the immense influence this had on the man who was to become Germany’s Fuhrer. Reference is also made to the texts of the major operas, reckoned by many to be the greatest works of art of all time.

Biographers have often avoided delving into the uglier elements of both of the subjects’ personalities. Without seeking sensationalism, this book does not shrink from exploring their seedier side, including their sexual dalliances and perversions, in its quest to understand the full range of factors that led to Hitler’s pursuit of the Holocaust.

Christopher Nicholson has lived all his 70 years in KwaZulu-Natal. He practised as a human rights lawyer, assisting victims of apartheid, before majority rule was won in 1994. His efforts were recognized with two awards and he was appointed a high court judge in 1995.

He has published five books: Permanent Removal: Who Killed the Cradock Four?; Papwa Sewgolum: From Pariah to Legend; Richard and Adolf: Did Richard Wagner incite Adolf Hitler to commit the Holocaust?; One Hand Washes the Other, and No Sacred Cows. The first two were nominated for the Alan Paton prize in South Africa for non-fiction.

St Clements is situated at 191 Musgrave Road. Mondays @ Six run between 18h00 and 19h00. Booking is advised on 031 202 2511. There is no cover charge but there is a donations box to support presenters.