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their fight against degenerate art

Their fight against degenerate art

You can read the opinion in Slovak here. Under the guidance of Alfred Rosenberg, the leading theorist of cultural Nazism, preparations for the ceremony took several months. Rosenberg came from a German-Baltic family. Under the influence of the Russian mystic Dmitry Merezhkovsky, whom he had met during his stay in Moscow, he became an ideological critic of modern art. In the spirit of Merezhkovsky’s rejection of decadent symbolism, a movement associated with the decline of traditional art according to the radical right, Rosenberg emerged as editor-in-chief of the [Nazi party newspaper] Völkischer Beobachter and the occultist Thule Society to combat degenerate art on all fronts. Allow what is degenerate to burn In front of the Berlin Opera House and in other German cities, on May 10, 1933 the Nazi understanding of degenerate art took revenge on the world and German literature, and in an auto-da-fé thousands of books by “degenerate” authors were burned in a purgatory fire, the likes of which had been sporadically lit in German National Socialist circles since at least 1817. However, the Nazi desire to “purify the German spirit” from Entartete Kunst (degenerate art) has another ideological origin. In his Essay on the Inequality of Human Races, French theoretician of racism Arthur de Gobineau focused on degeneration; in his work Entartung (Degeneration), Austro-Hungarian doctor Max Nordau connected the theory of criminal degeneration with the possibility of transferring some deviant personality disorders into artwork and, conversely, the influence of degenerate art on the destruction of society. Nordau considered almost all art movements of the time to be manifestations of decline. He hated Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, and Richard Wagner who was later admired by the Nazis. Since pre-Nazi times, the theory of degenerate, non-national, impure, damaged art has been associated with the activities of Jews and Judaism. A large number of the books burned in 1933 were written by prominent German authors of Jewish origin. Their crime was that their work was insufficiently German, their expression and understanding of the extraordinary historical fate of the Germans lacking sufficient “Deutschtum” (Germanness).

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