Sunday, July 19, 2009
On July 19th 1937, the Nazis staged the Entartete Kunst, or exhibition of degenerate art, one of the pre-war low points of Nazi culture which clearly presaged the horrors ahead.
Prior to the exhibition, over 5000 works of art were confiscated from museums and galleries across Germany, including works by Mondrian, Kandinsky, Klee and Moholy-Nagy and many others. The Entartete Kunst featured around 650 of these works, each accompanied by hate-filled, derogatory slogans and comments. State control of the arts began and increasingly repressive measures were enacted to silence dissenters. Many notable artists and thinkers had to flee the country. Others remained and formed resistance movements like the Weisse Rose, or White Rose group of students form the University of Munich. The leaders of this group, including brother and sister Hans and Sophie Scholl, were executed for their non-violent protest, decapitated by the Nazis who were saving society from degeneracy.