Who were they? What drew them to Wagner and him to them? These questions are at the heart of Hilan Warshaw’s documentary, the first film to focus on Wagner’s complex personal relationships with Jews.
Filmed in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, Wagner’s Jews tells the remarkable stories of these complicated relationships through archival sources, visual re-enactments, interviews, and performances of original musical works by Wagner’s Jewish colleagues – the first such performances to be seen on film. As well as this historical narrative, the film explores the ongoing controversy regarding performing Wagner’s music in Israel. In a different form, the questions dividing Wagner’s Jewish acquaintances still resonate today: is it possible to separate artworks from the hatreds of their creator? Can art transcend prejudice and bigotry, and the weight of history?