240 HIMMLER ON COURTESY Himmler interposed in turn: "I've arranged that each of my subordinates shall sign everything that issues from our offices, with his own name and in a legible fashion. Thus one always knows with whom one is dealing, and nobody can take refuge behind abstractions. What is scandalous is the tone of our administrative people in their relations with the public. Every summons to a meeting, every tax demand, is, in its general effect, an offence against the citizen. I've had all our forms of summons cancelled and ordered them to be replaced. Now the ßrst summons is in the following set terms: 'I request you, on behalf of the President of Police, to be so kind. . . . If you are unable to attend, I should be grateful if you would inform me in writing concerning the matter mentioned above.' If the recipient makes no move, he receives a second letter as follows: ' You did not answer my summons. I draw your attention to the fact that you are obliged to . . .'" The Fuehrer replied: That's why I've never been able to make up my mind to praise publicly the body of officials generally. All that should be reviewed from top to bottom. The best thing you've done, Himmler, is to have transformed the incendiary into a fireman. Thus the fireman lives under the threat of being hanged if there is an outbreak of fire. I've sometimes wondered whether the tax the peasant pays in money couldn't be replaced by a tax paid in produce. In Russia, it will be absolutely necessary to do things like that. There'll be barracks there where one will be able to collect tithes. It's easier for the peasant to pay in produce than to trot out the ready money. Life used to be very hard for the peasants. To them a good crop used to mean more work, and not more money. A bad crop was simply a disaster. It was the middleman who pocketed the profits! 122 Night of 24th-2 5th January 1942 Origin of Tristan and Isolda—Gosima Wagner—Wahnfried—The Makart style—Bayreuth—On the Nuremberg Congress. Whatever one says, Tristan is Wagner's masterpiece, and we owe Tristan to the love Mathilde Wesendonck inspired in him.
MUSICAL AND LITERARY TASTES 24! She was a gentle, loving woman, but far from having the qualities of Cosima. Nobody like Wagner has had the luck to be entirely understood by a woman. Those are things that life does not owe a man, but it's magnificent when it happens. Neither Mozart nor Beethoven, neither Schiller nor Goethe, have had a share of such happiness. In addition to all Wagner's gifts, Cosima was femininity personified, and her charm had its effect on all who visited Wahnfried. After Wagner's death, the atmosphere at Wahnfried remained what it had been during his lifetime. Cosima was inconsolable, and never ceased to wear mourning. She had wanted her own ashes to be scattered over her husband's tomb, but she was refused this satisfaction. Nevertheless, her ashes were collected in an urn, and this urn was placed on the tomb. Thus death has not separated these two beings, whom destiny had wished to live side by side! Wagner's lifetime was also that of a man like Meyerbeer ! Wagner is responsible for the fact that the art of opera is what it is to-day. The great singers who've left names behind became celebrated as interpreters of Wagner. Moreover, it's since him that there have been great orchestra-leaders. Wagner was typically a prince. His house, Wahnfried, for example! It's been said that the interior, in Makart style, was overloaded. But should a house be mistaken for a gallery of works of art? Isn't it, above all, a dwelling, the framework for a private life, with its extensions and its radiance? If I possess a gallery of ancestors, should I discard it on the pretext that not all the pictures in it are masterpieces? The houses of that period—and the same remark is equally true of Makart's studio—were filled with private memories. As far as I'm concerned, I keenly regret that Makart's studio hasn't been kept as it was in the artist's lifetime. Respect for the venerable things that come to us from the past will one day benefit those who to-day are young. Nobody can imagine what Makart's vogue was like. His contemporaries extolled him to the heights. At the beginning of this century there were people called Wagnerians. Other people had no special name. What joy