The Furtwängler Love Letters
Elisabeth to Wilhelm, 9. 1. 1942
This is the only letter I am going to write to you. I will not see you again until I am sure in my mind that we can be friends without endangering the love between you and Maria. And Fu – if we ever see each other again, then please never take me in your arms, however much you would like to – or however lovingly I may look at you.
If you agree with my letter, then don’t answer. And if you do not agree – then definitely do not reply.
Wilhelm to Elisabeth, 3. 2. 1942
I have been pondering over everything and am now quite clear in my mind about it all. In everything that you have, do, and say – and how you look – you are the sweetest picture of femininity I have ever come across. Even if I have at times been egoistical and irresponsible in my life, I cannot behave in such a way towards you – not in the slightest.
I will arrange the journey so that I visit my mother in Heidelberg and then go on to Frankfurt, perhaps in the morning, so we can meet there at midday. Or can you come to Heidelberg for the night? Things would be quieter there – and there is also that lovely peaceful hotel.
You can’t imagine how I am counting the days, my dear!
Elisabeth to Wilhelm, 16. 4. 1942
My dear, if only you could draw as much strength from my love for you as I do from your love for me. But it is not longer a question of mine or yours – it is our love. I used to think it would perhaps be a wonderful experience and would then end. But this is merely a blissful beginning, and so much happiness lies before us. Do you feel the same? You have made me so happy.
Wilhelm to Elisabeth, 16. 4. 1942
Dearest, I feel I am living in a dream. I constantly see before me your eyes, your smile, your person. I have truly lost my heart – lost it to you. I am thinking of you, my darling, my dearest, sweet joy. W.
Wilhelm to Elisabeth, 26. 4. 1942
Dearest, it is not just your mouth, your eyes, your cheeks that I would like to kiss and caress, but also your neck, your shoulders and your beautiful arms. Then your sweet, sweet, sweet breasts – both of them, one after the other. But even that is not enough. I want to kiss and caress everything – your entire body, immerse myself in your closeness and then once more take you into my arms and press you to me, again and again.
Elisabeth to Wilhelm, 4. 2. 1945
Our child is lying next to me in his cot, snuffling happily, replete after his first feed. I have simply written ‘our child’, but these words mean so much to me! I sometimes repeat them softly when I hold him in my arms and am overcome by a sweet heaviness. He is alive and is a living, warm child. So it is true that I am your wife, that you have held me in your arms and I have melted in the sweetness of your embrace.
Wilhelm to Elisabeth, 21. 2. 1949
Dearest, it struck me how true it is what Wagner says about the redemption of man by the pure, unwavering love of a woman. It is the most precious thing on earth, and I never knew it. But now I know it – late on, but not too late. Oh my dearest, everything that I still have and experience in my life strengthens me in this one belief: I love you! W.