Author(s): A N Wilson
"Winnie and Wolf" is the story of the extraordinary relationship between Winifred Wagner and Adolf Hitler that took place during the years 1923-40, as seen through the eyes of the secretary at the Wagner house in Bayreuth. Winifred, an English girl, brought up in an orphanage in East Grinstead, married at the age of eighteen to the son of Germany's most controversial genius, is a passionate Germanophile, a Wagnerian dreamer, a Teutonic patriot. In the debacle of the post-Versailles world, the Wagner family hope for the coming, not of a warrior, a fearless Siegfried, but of a Parsifal, a mystic idealist, a redeemer-figure. In 1923, they meet their Parsifal - a wild-eyed Viennese opera-fanatic in a trilby hat, a mac and a badly fitting suit.Hitler has already made a name for himself in some sections of German society through rabble-rousing and street corner speeches. It is Winifred, though, who believes she can really see his poetry. Almost at once they drop formalities and call one another 'Du' rather than 'Sie'. She is Winnie and he is Wolf. Like Winnie, Hitler was an outsider. First published 2007.