Verena Wagner Lafferentz died on April 19, at the age of 98. She was the last surviving grandchild of Richard Wagner — and it is astonishing to contemplate that the grandchild of a man born in 1813 was still alive until last week. Mark Berry makes the striking observation that Verena must have been one of the very last living people to have known Hitler personally. Hitler doted on the Wagner grandchildren from the mid-1920s onward, and while Wieland received most of his attention he appears also to have enjoyed Verena’s company. Her husband, Bodo Lafferentz, was a high-ranking SS officer who oversaw the Strength Through Joy program that brought wounded soldiers to Bayreuth during the war. In later years, Verena appears to have felt no responsibility to help us understand Hitler or to shed light on her family’s complicity in the regime. At least she avoided dying on the Führer’s birthday.

from Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise