The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, September 20, 2019

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.

German Historical Museum | Hans Ottomeyer | Hitler | Berlin |

Today's News

October 15, 2010

Kunsthaus Zrich Revives First Museum Exhibition Devoted to Pablo Picasso

Tate Modern's "Sunflower Seed" Exhibit by Ai Weiwei Closed as Health Risk

Part One of Jerry Hall's Art Collection Sells For Exceptional Sum of £2.3 Million

New York City's Whitney Museum of American Art Sells Buildings to Fund Move

Works in 2, 2½ & 3 Dimensions by Acclaimed British Artist Tom Phillips at Flowers

Lost Manuscripts from the Sistine Chapel to be on View in the United States for First Time

Tate Acquires New Works by Emerging and Leading International Artists at Frieze Art Fair

Major Exhibition at Brooklyn Museum Redefines the Role of Female Pop Artists

New Installation of Work by Contemporary Artist Alinah Azadeh at the National Portrait Gallery

Lust and Vice: The 7 Deadly Sins from Drer to Nauman Opens at Kunstmuseum Bern

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

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

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

Iconographic Analysis Conducted by Archaeologists on Murals Reveal Maya Military Life

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

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

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

Christophe Cherix Appointed Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books at MoMA

Christie's Evening Auctions of Post-War and Contemporary Art and the Italian Sale Realise $61.2 Million

Design of the Century: Works in Glass and Grand Style Highlight Fall Auction of 20th Century Decorative Arts

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

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

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

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

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

Louvre Offers an Overview of Russian Contemporary Art Featuring Works by Twenty Artists

Court: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston can Keep Work Sold in Nazi Era

Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Colorado Art Damage

Recovered Monet to Go Back on View in Poland

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Holocaust 'masterpiece' causes uproar at Venice film festival

2.- To be unveiled at Sotheby's: One of the greatest collections of Orientalist paintings ever assembled

3.- Bender Gallery features paintings by up and coming Chicago artist Michael Hedges

4.- Lvy Gorvy exhibits new and historic works by French master in his centenary year

5.- Artificial Intelligence as good as Mahler? Austrian orchestra performs symphony with twist

6.- Fascinating new exhibition explores enduring artistic bond between Scotland and Italy

7.- Exhibition explores the process of Japanese-style woodblock production

8.- Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94

9.- The truth behind the legend of patriot Paul Revere revealed in a new exhibition at New-York Historical Society

10.- Hitler bust found in cellar of French Senate

Related Stories

Hitler Exhibit in Berlin's German Historical Museum Extended Due to Popularity

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
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
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