The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, May 26, 2018

Exhibition at Berlin's German Historical Museum Views Hitler's Hold on Germans
Various Nazi paraphernalia like cigars, a lampion, a wallet and a quartet decorated with a swastika are pictured during a preview for the exhibition 'Hitler and the Germans - nation and crime' in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. The exhibition runs from Oct. 15, 2010 until Feb. 6, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Sohn.

By: Geir Moulson, Associated Press Writer

BERLIN (AP).- Bronze Hitler busts of various sizes crown austere pedestals. A red paper lantern with a swastika floats in the air. A tiny toy model of the Fuehrer stands behind a swastika-bedecked lectern.

This isn't an auction of Nazi memorabilia but a major exhibition at a Berlin museum that delves into the personality cult that sprang up around Adolf Hitler — exploring with the help of period artifacts how he won mass support for his destructive regime.

The exhibition at the German Historical Museum that opened Thursday is the first exhibition in the German capital to focus so firmly on the Nazi dictator — another step in the erosion of German taboos concerning depictions of the Nazi era.

"Hitler and the Germans — Nation and Crime" comes more than 75 years after the Nazis took control, as Germans increasingly look at Hitler not as a one-dimensional monster, but as a complex figure who enjoyed vast popularity before plunging the country into war.

Such explorations of the Nazi past were inconceivable until not long ago, but in recent years there have been a series of films, exhibitions and plays that have shown Germany to be growing increasingly comfortable with confronting the phenomenon of Hitler's rule directly — or even as the subject of satire or comedy.

Museum head Hans Ottomeyer acknowledged that, even now, "displaying Hitler is viewed as delicate." He stressed that the show isn't a "homage."

"It is certainly not about Hitler as a person," Ottomeyer said. "It tries to portray how Hitler grew out of the politics of his time, the mental state and fears, what methods he used and where that led, always in a dialogue of pictures and counter-pictures."

Ottomeyer noted that Germany has had at least one previous exhibition on Hitler — "Hoffmann and Hitler," a photo exhibition in Munich in the early 1990s that never made it to Berlin.

In recent years, Hitler has been the subject of a highly acclaimed German film portraying his final days, "Downfall," and another portraying him as a comical idiot — "Mein Fuehrer: The Truly Truest Truth about Adolf Hitler." He also has appeared as a waxwork at the Berlin branch of Madame Tussaud's and is a regular subject of television documentaries.

The German Historical Museum has been considering the current exhibition since the early 2000s, but Ottomeyer said it decided against focusing more on the "bizarre personality" of Hitler in favor of a broader approach.

Curator Hans-Ulrich Thamer said he wanted to explore "how this power and influence, this domination of Adolf Hitler can be explained, and to make clear that one of the factors was the readiness to approve and the readiness to go along of large parts of society."

The collection of some 600 exhibits, along with 400 photos and posters, takes visitors chronologically through the life of the regime. Nearly three-quarters of the material comes from the museum's own extensive stores.

It portrays the Nazis' dual approach of making the German masses feel included in their movement while excluding those whom they had identified as enemies, such as Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and the disabled.

Items such as a case full of various Nazi organizations' uniforms — placed opposite footage of the book-burning of tomes deemed "un-German" that was an emblematic moment in Hitler's consolidation of power — and a Nazi rally flag underline the strategy of inclusion.

A tapestry produced in 1935 by Protestant and Catholic women puts the words of the Lord's Prayer around a church with a swastika flag flying from its tower.

Nazi exclusion policies are is driven home by photos of Jewish deportations and of hospital patients being taken away for euthanasia — exhibited alongside an order signed by Hitler for the "incurably ill" to be granted "mercy death" — along with a note from a German company about equipment being supplied to the Auschwitz death camp.

Such exhibits help emphasize the fact that "the persecution of political opponents, the persecution of Jewish fellow citizens, the deportation of Jewish citizens took place in front of everyone's eyes," said Thamer, a history professor at the University of Muenster.

Thamer said he doesn't expect the exhibition to generate controversy and isn't worried that fringe far-right groups might try somehow to take advantage — again pointing to the balance carefully provided. He added that experience shows "such people don't go to museums."

The exhibition shows Hitler's ubiquity in Nazi-era German life in everything down to playing cards with the dictator's image, yet the curator steered clear of securing any personal belongings of the dictator. He argued that this would have little explanatory value and said he didn't want to "support the peculiar fascination" that such items might exert.

The general secretary of Germany's Central Council of Jews, Stephan Kramer, said he hadn't yet seen the exhibition and couldn't comment.

Pre-opening media coverage has been subdued. The exhibition includes dozens of editions of the weekly Der Spiegel with Hitler on the cover, starting in 1964.

Hitler didn't make this week's cover, however, and the magazine limited itself to a relatively brief story in which it remarked that the organizers appeared to be "afraid of their own courage" in leaving out, for example, monumental portraits of the dictator.

The show is open daily through Feb. 6.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Today's News

October 14, 2010

The Audrey Hepburn Stamp: A Portrait of Eternal Beauty to Be Sold by Schlegel Briefmarken

Frieze Art Fair Features 173 of the World's Most Exciting Contemporary Art Galleries

Art World Acts to Save Energy and Money, Mayor Launches Green Visual Arts Guide at Frieze Art Fair

U.S. Collector and Gallery Owner Larry Gagosian Tops 2010 Art Review Power List

Exhibition at Yale Center for British Art Assesses the Career and Legacy of British Architect James Stirling

19th Century Quill Pen Given to Russian Prince Aleksander Gorchakov to Sell for £100,000 at Bonhams

Exhibition at Berlin's German Historical Museum Views Hitler's Hold on Germans

World Records for David Hockney, Aaron Young, Sterling Ruby & Dana Schutz at Phillips de Pury

Museum of American Finance To Display Jeweled Monopoly Set and Host Tournament

Iconographic Analysis Conducted by Archaeologists on Murals Reveal Maya Military Life

Royal Academy of Arts Announces Jeff Koons as New Honorary Member of the Royal Academy

Up to 100 Greek Culture Ministry Workers Shut Down the Acropolis, Clash with Police

Jewish Museum in New York Exhibiont Shows Key Works by Top Women Artists

Joshua Hagler and George Pfau: Nearly Approaching Never To Pass at Reaves Gallery

Michelle Obama Says She's Bringing the Arts to the White House to Lift Young People

3,500 Courtroom Sketches by Marilyn Church Heading for Library of Congress

Egypt's Chief Archaeologist Says United States to Return Smuggled Sarcophagi

Russian Claims to Uncover "Caucasian Stonehenge"

Exhibition at Cantor Arts Center Provides a Glimpse into the Practice of Modern-Day Vodou

Exhibition of New Installations, Light Works, Sculptures and Prints by James Turrell at Gagosian

North Sea Paintings by Distinguished Artist John Virtue on View at Marlborough Fine Art

LACMA Debuts World.Class European Costume Acquisition with Fashioning Fashion

National Gallery in London Invites Contemporary Artist Clive Head to Display His Work

New and Key Past Works in First Show by Marina Abramović on View at Lisson Gallery

Important Photographic Archive Acquired for Birmingham Central Library

Sotheby’s Announces the Inaugural Sale of Important Russian Art in New York

Personal Collection of Elton John's Mother Sheila Farebrother Offered to Music Fans Around the Globe

Navy Birthplace in Dispute; Five Communities Claim to Be the Navy's Birthplace

Thomas Moran's Early Landscape of Juniata Valley, Pa, is Acquired by National Gallery of Art

Galerie St. Etienne Shows Works by Max Beckmann's Student, Marie-Louise Motesiczky

Norman Dilworth's First Solo Show in Britain in Almost 30 Years Opens at Laurent Delaye

New Book Says Painting Stored Behind a Couch for 25 Years may Be a Michelangelo

Ex-J. Paul Getty Museum Curator Marion True's Trafficking Trial Ends in Italy

Sotheby's Launches App for iPhone and iPad

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- New Rembrandt found after being bought at London auction

2.- Exhibition at Fotohof focuses on groups in society who are at risk of marginalisation

3.- John Brennan collection of Rock n Roll memorabilia offered at RR Auction

4.- A Bob Dylan guitar fetches $495,000 at auction

5.- Exhibition in San Francisco focuses on the latter half of René Magritte's career

6.- 'Mad' king Ludwig II of Bavaria lost gift to composer Richard Wagner gets rare show

7.- New Royal Academy of Arts opens in celebration of its 250th anniversary

8.- Researchers uncover Anne Frank's 'dirty jokes'in her diary

9.- New York art sales near $3 billion in two weeks as uber-rich hunt trophies

10.- Berlin's Ethnological Museum returns grave-plundered artefacts to Alaska

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful