THE got­tbeg­nade­ten list

In a bid to build Nazi cul­ture, a list of very spe­cial artists was drawn up

All About History - - PROPAGANDA -

In the wake of the De­gen­er­ate Art ex­hi­bi­tion Hitler and Goebbels were de­ter­mined to see Nazi cul­ture blos­som and grow. In 1944 a record en­ti­tled the ‘Got­tbeg­nade­ten’ list – or ‘God-gifted’ list – was drawn up, fea­tur­ing artists, mu­si­cians, ac­tors, au­thors and other cre­atives that were con­sid­ered na­tional trea­sures. Among these prized fig­ures were com­poser Richard Strauss, No­bel Prizewin­ning writer Ger­hart Haupt­mann and ac­tor Heinz Rüh­mann.

The hon­our meant that a let­ter was sent to the re­cip­i­ent, but is also guar­an­teed that the re­cip­i­ent was ex­empt from mil­i­tary mo­bil­i­sa­tion; these fig­ures’ con­tri­bu­tions to cul­ture were deemed more valu­able than they could be in war.

Arno Breker was one such artist who found him­self on the Godgifted list. Cham­pi­oned as one of the great­est sculp­tors of the Third Re­ich, Breker had cre­ated sculp­tures for the 1936 Olympic Games, as well as creat­ing two bronze sculp­tures to stand out­side the Re­ich Chan­cellery. Ex­empt from mil­i­tary ser­vice, Breker was ap­pointed the of­fi­cial sculp­tor of the Nazi Party and was gifted a stu­dio, as well as al­most 50 as­sis­tants.

By the time the Third Re­ich crum­bled, Breker’s rep­u­ta­tion had spread far and wide. Iden­ti­fied as a ‘fel­low trav­eller’ of the Nazi Party than nec­es­sar­ily a Nazi him­self, Breker was fined and left to con­tinue his life in Düs­sel­dorf. Over the next few decades he was com­mis­sioned by sev­eral wealthy and pow­er­ful pa­trons, in­clud­ing the King of Mo­rocco. In 1985 a mu­seum de­voted to Breker’s works opened in Nör­venich, Ger­many. He died in 1991 still a cel­e­brated Ger­man artist, but many of his list-mates died in rel­a­tive ob­scu­rity, their ta­lent ir­re­vo­ca­bly tar­nished by their re­la­tion­ships with the Nazis.

Sculp­tor Arno Breker at work in the 1930s

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.