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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February, 2004, 12:14 GMT
Hitler's Welsh girlfriend revealed
Winifred Williams and Hitler
Winifred provided the writing paper on which Hitler wrote Mein Kampf
A Welsh woman who married into one of Germany's most prominent musical families nearly became Adolf Hitler's wife, a BBC Wales programme has revealed.

Winifred Williams, the daughter of a journalist from Brecon and his German wife, was adopted by relatives of her mother after being orphaned and went to live in Germany in 1908.

By 17, she was married to composer Richard Wagner's homosexual son Siegfried and met one of Wagner's greatest fans - future Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

They grew so close that it was actually Winifred who provided the paper on which Hitler wrote his infamous tract, Mein Kampf, while in jail in the early 1920s.

Following her husband's death in 1930, Hitler and Winifred's friendship intensified and he was described as being like a second father to her four children.

At the time, there was even talk of them getting married.

Winifred Williams and Hitler
Winifred and Hitler were especially close after her husband died
She became a Nazi Party member, and wrote of the thrill of seeing the swastika raised as Hitler came to power.

He personally intervened when the 1933 Wagner festival in Bayreuth nearly collapsed through financial problems, going there himself and pulling in the crowds, effectively saving it from ruin.

In a thank-you note, Winifred wrote: "My dear, dear friend and Fuhrer... You provide happiness which is beyond words."

She received a painting of the leader in return.

Their relationship soured when Hitler - who was having relationships with other women, including Eva Braun - failed to ask Winifred to marry him and they became distant.

However, as a Nazi party member, she was still close enough to the leader to personally intervene when Jewish singers and musicians were in danger from the regime and made Hitler order the release of several.

Winifred Williams as a child orphan with elderly relatives
Winifred could have gone to Brecon but went to German relatives instead
Following the end of World War II, Winifred was tried for her association with Hitler and the Nazi Party.

But several Jews sent letter of support, and 30 more testified that she had saved their lives.

Unrepentant, Winifred died in 1980 continuing to declare her personal affection for her former lover.

Speaking not long before her death, she said: "If Hitler came through this door today I'd be as happy as ever to see him and to have him here.

"I know there was a dark side to him but that side doesn't exist to me.

"I'm not familiar with that side of him."

Adar Drycin - Bird In a Storm, is broadcast on Tuesday 10 February, BBC Wales on S4C, 2100 GMT




SEE ALSO:
Hitler aide dies
13 Oct 03  |  Europe
Hitler papers up for auction
08 May 03  |  Wiltshire
Hitler syphilis theory revived
12 Mar 03  |  Health


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