German nazi murder of Lübcke, cover-up?


This 20 June 2019 video says about itself:

‘Pro-refugee’ politician’s murder raises concerns of neo-Nazi terror in Germany

The killing of a ‘pro-refugee’ politician, Walter Luebcke, in Germany has scandalized the country and raised concerns over the rise in right-wing extremism in Germany. The suspect arrested in connection with the killing reportedly had links to the neo-Nazi NPD party.

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting in Germany:

What is the German secret service concealing about the Lübcke murder?

6 August 2019

The Kassel public prosecutor has confirmed that Stephan Ernst, strongly suspected of murdering Kassel District President Walter Lübcke, may have made another murder attempt more than three years ago. This new suspicion provided grounds for the police to raid Ernst’s house again on 25 July.

In the hitherto unexplained case, a 22-year-old Iraqi asylum-seeker was attacked with a knife on 6 January 2016 near the Lohfelden refugee shelter, and was seriously injured. The unidentified culprit escaped on a bicycle.

Ernst lived just 2.5 kilometres from the refugee shelter. The facility was the site of a town hall meeting two-and-a-half months earlier at which Lübcke countered the shouts of right-wingers who attacked him for providing refugee accommodation. According to the news weekly Der Spiegel, Ernst is the man in a video of the meeting shouting at Lübcke, “I can’t believe it” and “Get lost”. This video was used to launch a hate campaign on the internet against Lübcke, which included death threats.

When Ernst was identified as a criminal suspect based on DNA evidence found at the scene of Lübcke’s murder and gave a detailed confession—since withdrawn—it was said that the right-wing extremist, who had been convicted several times before, had disappeared from the radar of the intelligence agencies 10 years ago because he was no longer politically active. The intelligence file on Ernst, which had been available in 2016 to the Committee of Inquiry of the Hesse state parliament into the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU), has since been closed in the Intelligence Information System (NADIS) of the investigative authorities, allegedly because there has been nothing against Ernst for 10 years.

But there are increasing indications that Ernst has been active in the militant neo-Nazi scene over the last decade. His public appearance on 14 October 2015 at the town hall meeting in Lohfelden, and the suspicion that he was responsible for the attack on the Iraqi asylum-seeker, are only the latest evidence.

The claim that the security authorities knew nothing about him is not credible. The neo-Nazi scene is riddled with confidential informants (CI), and the meeting in Lohfelden that resulted in death threats against the district president was probably being observed by the secret service. This raises the question of whether Ernst dropped off the radar of the security authorities for reasons other than those officially stated.

In the 1990s, Ernst, who is now 45 years old, repeatedly faced trial for violent assaults and terrorist attacks on immigrants. In 1995 he was sentenced to six years in prison without parole. After his release, he became part of a network that had close ties to the NSU, which murdered nine migrants and a police officer between 2000 and 2007.

At the beginning of the 2000s, Ernst appeared several times at far-right German National Party (NPD) events with Mike Sawallich, who at that time was head of the Hesse Young Nationalists (JN), the NPD youth organization. Sawallich also belonged to the inner circle of the “Oidoxie Street Fighting Crew.” This group regarded itself as a German offshoot of the extreme right-wing terrorist “Combat 18” network, and maintained close ties and gave practical support to the NSU. Not three weeks after the murder of Lübcke, Sawallich posted a photo on Facebook showing him as a youth arm in arm with Ernst, his “best comrade”.

Ernst probably got to know NSU members Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos, and (according to the Bild newspaper) “probably also
Beate Zschäpe” personally in 2006. At that time, these three were said to have attended Stanley Röske’s 30th birthday party in Kassel. Röske, today a leading member of the German “Combat 18” offshoot, has known Ernst at least since 2002.

“Combat 18” has since distanced itself from Ernst for reasons that are unclear. At the end of June, a video by the group appeared on the internet in which a hooded person denied Ernst’s contact with the group. The anti-fascist research platform Exif has identified the speaker as Robin Schmiemann, a well-known right-wing extremist from Dortmund and a pen pal of Beate Zschäpe.

It should be noted that shortly after Röske’s birthday party, the ninth NSU victim, Halit Yozgat, was shot in a Kassel internet café. Present at the murder was the Hesse state secret service officer Andreas Temme. Shortly before the murder of Yozgat, Temme, a CI handler, had phoned his informant in the Kassel neo-Nazi scene, Benjamin Gärtner. In February 2016, as a witness before the Hesse state parliament Committee of Inquiry into the NSU, Gärtner had confirmed that he knew Ernst as “NPD-Stephan”.

In the Munich NSU trial and before parliamentary committees of inquiry Temme appeared as a witness, but the then-Hesse state interior minister and current state premier Volker Bouffier, a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and a friend of Lübcke, refused to grant him full clearance to testify.

After the murder of Yozgat, Temme was transferred from the Hesse state secret service to the district presidency of Lübcke, where he still works today.

In his initial confession to the murder of Lübcke, Ernst implicated two other people, whom the investigators arrested. Sixty-four-year-old Elmar J. from Höxter was said to have sold Ernst the murder weapon in 2016. Forty-three-year-old Markus Hartmann from Kassel was said to have been the intermediary in this deal and other arms purchases by Ernst, including an Uzi submachine gun, from 2014 onwards.

Hartmann is a long-standing right-wing extremist who is known to the authorities. He is originally from Rudolstadt, the same area in Thuringia where the NSU began, and where he was active in the right-wing extremist scene from 1990. In 2006, Hartmann was already in Kassel, where he might have been the local connection to the NSU. Questioned by the police, he said he knew the murder victim Halit Yozgat “fleetingly”. Because he provided an alibi the investigators regarded this possible lead as a dead end.

Hartmann was with Ernst and Sawallich during an attack on the 2009 May Day trade union demonstration in Dortmund, where several hundred neo-Nazis threw stones and wooden slats at the participants. Because of this attack, Hartmann and Ernst were arrested. While the Dortmund District Court sentenced Ernst to seven months in prison on probation, Hartmann walked away without any penalty.

After this sentencing Ernst allegedly remained inconspicuous, the secret services now claim. In fact, he continued to move in the same circles as before. Until at least 2011, he was a member of several extreme right-wing groups, such as the “Artgemeinschaft Germanic Faith Community”, a neo-pagan and neo-Nazi organization founded in 1951 by former SS member Wilhelm Kusserow, and the neo-Nazi group “Freier Widerstand Kassel” (Free Resistance Kassel).

In the 2016 election campaign, Ernst donated 150 euros to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). On the internet, he agitates against foreigners and the government under the pseudonym “Game Over”. In 2018 on YouTube he threatened, “Either this government will abdicate shortly, or there will be deaths.” Together with Hartmann, Ernst was a member of the Sandershausen shooting club.

Mehmet Daimagüler, a lawyer for NSU victims, points out that Lübcke’s cold-blooded murder has parallels with the NSU murders. The NSU victims were also shot with a pistol from close range. And Lübcke too was said to have been on the death list of the NSU when it went to ground in 2011, i.e., long before the internet witch-hunt against him in 2015.

As with the NSU, the facts available to date, despite all the supposed “glitches”, “mistakes” and “sloppiness” on the part of the authorities, provide a clear picture. A right-wing and violent neo-Nazi committed one criminal offence after another since his youth, and was eventually sentenced to several years’ imprisonment in 1995. Free again, he re-joined the neo-Nazi scene, became part of the NSU supporters circle in Kassel, and only 10 years later, in 2009, received another prison sentence. Then something happened that supposedly made him act with more restraint.

Thomas Haldenwang, the president of the federal Verfassungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution), as Germany’s national secret service is called, has emphasized that Ernst was not a confidential informant. He moved in an environment of CIs, who are currently being questioned, but since 2010 the Verfassungsschutz no longer had a personal file on him, Haldenwang claims. He was no longer classified as a right-wing extremist, and, according to information from the security authorities, neither the police nor the secret service had placed him under surveillance.

In contrast, the Hesse state secret service regarded Ernst and Hartmann in 2015 as violent right-wing extremists. The latter was also recorded as being a supporter of the right-wing group “Freier Widerstand Kassel”.

Just as with the NSU, here also the secret service is stonewalling. The Hesse state government, led by former Interior Minister Volker Bouffier, has decided to keep the NSU files of the Hesse secret service under lock and key until 2044.

These files also contain the record of the questioning of the CI Benjamin Gärtner in 2016 on his knowledge of Ernst and his contacts. Gärtner refused to talk to Spiegel TV because he had been “muzzled”. He said, “I got a muzzle back then and I do not know what would happen to me if I dropped my muzzle. I do not know how long I’ll be sitting here at home.” Asked what he was afraid of, Gärtner replied, “The government”.

In an earlier article, we raised the question of whether Walter Lübcke had been murdered, not for his refugee-friendly attitude, but for some other reason, and whether it could be that “Lübcke knew too much and had become an obstacle to the far-right cliques?”

Regardless of what Lübcke knew or did not know, however, his murder is a warning to anyone coming too close to the right-wing cliques within the state apparatus. It would have been expected that the murder of a high-ranking state official and CDU politician by a neo-Nazi would have triggered an intense investigation, using all the intelligence available to the secret services to uncover those responsible. Nothing like that has happened.

Relevant secret service files, which could clarify the background to the murder, will remain closed for decades. Nobody is to dare to seek to uncover the intertwining of the intelligence services, security apparatus, AfD and right-wing terrorism. This is accepted by the political establishment, which says a great deal about the extent of the right-wing conspiracy within the state apparatus.

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The German Die Brücke painters and Hitler


This June 2016 video says about itself:

Professor Jonathan Petropoulos talked about his book, “Artists Under Hitler: Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany.” This interview, conducted at Claremont McKenna College, is part of Book TV’s College Series.

By Sybille Fuchs in Germany:

Modern art in Germany and the Nazis Part 2: The Die Brücke painters

26 July 2019

Two art exhibitions currently on display in Berlin raise important questions about the relationship of certain modern German artists to the Nazi regime (1933-1945).

In Part 1, we discussed the Hamburger Bahnhof contemporary art museum’s exhibition of paintings by Emil Nolde (1876-1956), which treats the artist’s relationship to the Nazis and their ideology.

The Brücke Museum in Berlin has taken up the same theme in Escape into Art? Die Brücke Painters in the Nazi Period, concentrating on the artists Erich Heckel (1883-1970), Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976), Max Pechstein (1881-1950) and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938). In 1905, this group founded the artistic collective known as Die Brücke (The Bridge).

Were “escape” and “internal migration” the artists’ reactions to Nazism? After World War II, this was the broad interpretation of the behaviour of the group of painters associated with Die Brücke. It is time to take a closer look at this question, which is the theme of Escape into Art? Its curators are Aya Soika (Bard College Berlin), Meike Hoffmann (Free University Berlin’s Degenerate Art Research Centre) and Lisa Marei Schmidt (Brücke Museum).

The adjacent Kunsthaus Dahlem museum in Berlin complements the latter exhibition by examining the post-war history of these Brücke artists. Like Nolde, these representatives of Expressionism were associated in the minds of the broad public with what the Nazis termed “degenerate” art. The artists were invariably judged to be victims of the Hitler regime.

The various ways in which former Brücke members reacted to Nazism emerge in the current exhibition. All of them were able to continue working as artists until shortly before the end of the Second World War.

Ernst Luwig Kirchner, The Drinker, 1915

For the first time, the exhibition provides a comprehensive historical view of the activities of these artists under the Hitler regime, their artistic work and the extent to which they could effectively pursue their efforts. They wavered between hope, adaptation and resignation. In some cases, they sought to bring their art to the attention of the Nazi elite and when this failed they often simply withdrew into their private lives.

Like the Nolde exhibition, the Brücke exhibition provides visitors with a nuanced historical viewpoint, adopting neither a one-sided “victim” perspective nor a glorification of the role of the avant-garde during this period. Both exhibitions represent a welcome change in the current perception of art, eschewing a primarily sensualist, playful or quasi-religious approach in favour of art appreciation based on a critical examination of contemporary history.

The exhibition explains that many German artists did not survive the Nazi era. One such was Charlotte Salomon, whose impressive work was featured in the Kassel documenta 13 exhibition in 2018. The artists Otto Freundlich, Moissy Kogan and Felix Nussbaum were also murdered in concentration camps. Others, as well as many collectors and gallery owners, had to flee Germany and go into exile because as Jews they were deprived of their livelihoods and, for the most part, their property by the Nazis’ notorious Nuremberg Race Laws.

The paintings of Brücke artists are shown along with detailed explanatory texts and numerous documents. The first part of the exhibition is devoted to the period 1933 to 1937. During this time, museums and gallery owners sought to present Expressionist artists as genuinely “German Modernists”, producing artwork that corresponded to the nationalist outlook of the Nazis.

During the Weimar Republic period in Germany (1919-1933) advocates of a backwards-looking, pseudo-realistic art had already denounced avant-garde art and especially the Brücke artists as the abortive product of morbid brains. As noted in the first part of this series, it was only after the “Expressionism dispute” within the Nazi party that the matter was settled in favour of the reactionary artistic nostrums of Adolf Hitler and his leading ideologue Alfred Rosenberg.

Die Brücke

The group of artists known as Die Brücke was founded by the Dresden architecture students Fritz Bleyl, Heckel, Schmidt-Rottluff and Kirchner in 1905. Bleyl decided to pursue architecture while the others resolutely turned to painting. Some time later, the group was joined by Pechstein, the only member with academic training in art. After the group moved to Berlin in 1908, Otto Mueller (1874-1930) became a member and, for a short time, the older Nolde. The young artists also attempted, in vain, to win the venerated Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944) to their ranks.

Following a major exhibition in Cologne in 1912, the Brücke painters were displayed together with Fauvists, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, August Macke, Nolde, Munch, Ferdinand Hodler, Egon Schiele and others. The exhibition was conceived as a provocative answer to the widely publicized protest in 1911 by German artists, i.e., conservative artistic circles, against “infiltration” from foreign, predominantly French art.

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Portrait of Rosa Schapire, 1911, oil on canvas, Brücke museum © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

In 1907, the Hamburg art historian Dr. Rosa Schapire (1874-1954) was accepted as a supporter. She went on to devote much of her work to the Brücke artists. She gave lectures, created catalogues of work and was in constant correspondence via letters and postcards with the painters who did her portrait on several occasions. She held Schmidt-Rottluff in particular high regard and he responded by painting her several times. One 1911 portrait of Schapire is included in the current Berlin exhibition.

Schapire was close to the Social Democrats and regarded herself as a champion of women’s rights. In an essay in the Sozialistische Monatshefte (Socialist Monthly Bulletins), she attacked the bourgeois women’s movement in 1897 and declared that genuine emancipation for women was only possible in a socialist society.

The Brücke group had already gone out in the area surrounding Dresden to paint from nature, although without any intent of reproducing it. The group’s motto was: “Painting in nature, but not naturally.” Rather than depict nature directly, they sought to use it as inspiration for their spontaneous perceptions. They were especially influenced by the art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Heckel particularly admired Matthias Grünewald, the German Renaissance painter.

In their manifesto, the Brücke artists distanced themselves from the prevailing school of Impressionism. “Everyone belongs with us who reflects what compels him to create in a direct and unadulterated manner.” They were not interested in influencing social reality through their art, as Käthe Kollwitz was, but sought instead to capture their subjective view of the world using artistic means.

The painters and their models often spent time at the Moritzburg Castle ponds near Dresden. They were drawn by the light, life in the open and the movement of people, especially artists and dancers. They were entranced by casual nudity, which in turn aroused the hostility of conservative circles. Later, they primarily visited places on the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts.

Like other Expressionist painters and writers and many other artists of the time, the Brücke painters were strongly influenced by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. They understood their art to be a form of “spiritual self-liberation”. Heckel produced a woodcut featuring a portrait of Nietzsche. The name of the group stems from a quote from Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-1885): “What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an OVER-GOING and a DOWN-GOING.”

In 1913, Kirchner wrote a chronicle about Die Brücke, in which he overstated his own role and history in the group. A bitter dispute then erupted with the other members, and Kirchner resigned. This led to the final dissolution of the group. The outbreak of war in 1914 led to the further dispersion of the various artists.

Max Pechstein in his house in Berlin-Zehlendorf, 1915

Weimar

The Brücke Museum exhibition refers only briefly to a fact of some political and historical significance. The November Revolution of 1918 and the uprising of the German working class evoked a response from the Expressionists.

In December 1918, Pechstein was the initiator of the 122-member November Group, which included George Grosz, Wassily Kandinsky, John Heartfield, Otto Dix, Hannah Höch, Lyonel Feininger, El Lissitzky and Rudolf Schlichter, as well as a number of musicians (George Antheil, Hanns Eisler, Kurt Weill) and architects (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe). The artists from very varied artistic backgrounds, including a number of leading Expressionists, regarded themselves as ready to support social revolution in Germany. Their joint activities were limited after 1921, although members of the November Group continued to regard themselves as progressive, committed artists.

The Nazis in turn used that commitment to demonise these artists as the “Red November Group.” The latter’s embrace of abstraction and full artistic freedom was denounced as “Bolshevik” and in 1933, the group could no longer continue their work. In 1935, its fate was sealed when it was deleted from the register of associations in Berlin.

In 1918 as well, a number of artists and architects formed the related Art Soviet, or Workers Council for Art (Arbeitsrat für Kunst), in solidarity with the workers and soldiers’ councils, which had been formed across Germany. Its members included the former Brücke artists Pechstein, Schmidt-Rottluff, Heckel, Mueller and also Nolde. A leaflet by the group dated March 1, 1919, stated: “At the top is the motto: Art and the people must form a unity. Art should no longer be mere enjoyment, but rather the fortune and life of the masses. The aim is to combine the various arts under the wings of a large-scale body of arts.” The activities of the Workers Council for Art provided important impulses for painting, modern architecture, “new forms of building” and also the Bauhaus.

The suppression of the 1918 revolution enabled reactionary tendencies, anchored in the state apparatus and judiciary, to influence cultural policy and prevail in many areas. This development in turn led many artists to withdraw into the private sphere.

Although Pechstein, Kirchner and Nolde were among the most popular modern artists in the Weimar Republic and were highly acclaimed in artistic circles, they came under fierce attacks from national-conservative circles.

One of their most virulent opponents was the architect and art critic Paul Schultze-Naumburg, whom the Brücke exhibition quotes in detail. He propagated “Nordic aesthetics” and a form of culturally based racism. His closest friends from the early 1920s included leading Nazis. In his book, Art and Race< (1928), he denounced all modern art as “cretinism” and “degenerate” and juxtaposed works of art, especially those of the Expressionists, with photographs of the physically and mentally handicapped.

Schultze-Naumburg was an important pioneer of the Militant League for German Culture founded and headed by Nazi zealot Alfred Rosenberg. Founding members also included Gregor Strasser and Heinrich Himmler. Schultze-Naumburg joined in 1929 and gave a number of lectures on behalf of the organisation. He was one of the first to demand the purging of modern art from “shameful exhibitions”. Ferocious ideological struggles over art were fought inside and outside the NSDAP throughout the Weimar period.

Under the National Socialist regime

The Brücke artists responded to the takeover of power by Hitler in 1933 and the hostility of the Nazis with a variety of strategies. All of them—with the exception of Kirchner who had been living in Switzerland since 1917—remained in Germany and continued to paint more or less undisturbed until the mid-1930s. They hoped their artwork would ultimately be recognised by the regime.

The paintings on display in Berlin, together with various letters and documents, suggest that defining the artists’ stance as one of “internal emigration” is too one-sided. At the same time, there is barely any evidence of resistance to the Nazis. What prevailed among all former Brücke artists was a vacillation between resignation and adaptation. Unlike Nolde, none of them was either a member of the party or a convinced National Socialist. Their style of painting during this period became somewhat more conventional. Their shock was all the greater when in 1937 thousands of their works were removed from public collections.

On June 30, 1937, Goebbels commissioned the president of the Reich Chamber for the Visual Arts, Adolf Ziegler, to scour every museum for “decadent German art”, draw up an inventory of works and prepare an exhibition. Almost half of the more than 600 works shown at the subsequent Degenerate Art exhibition consisted of paintings by Brücke painters.

Given that the group’s paintings were in demand, many were sold abroad for foreign exchange. In 1938, Hermann Göring asserted: “We want to try to make some money out of the crap.” On this basis, Hitler’s art dealers (Bernhard A. Böhmer, Karl Buchholz, Hildebrand Gurlitt and Ferdinand Möller) were also able to divert quite a few into their own collections.

The Brücke Museum also includes a film excerpt of the Degenerate Art exhibition shot by the US documentary filmmaker Julien Bryan—the only film record of the Munich show.

The Brücke Museum exhibition deals with the biographies of Kirchner, Pechstein, Schmidt-Rottluff and Heckel, their respective reactions to Nazism and the individual stages of their proscription. Otto Mueller died of tuberculosis in 1930, but his work was also censored and denounced by the Nazis posthumously.

Weisses Haus in Dangast, oil painting by Erich Heckel, 1908 (Milmo-Penny Fine Art Ltd., Dublin, Ireland)

Erich Heckel

Heckel, who in 1933 had been praised by advocates of his work as a contemporary alternative to traditional academic art, signed the “Call of Cultural Artists” of August 19, 1934. The document was a pledge of allegiance to the Führer, drafted by Josef Goebbels. The 37 signatories included Wilhelm Furtwängler, Werner Krauss, Agnes Miegel, Hans Pfitzner, Richard Strauss, Mies van der Rohe, Barlach and Schultze-Naumburg.

The pledge, however, did little to improve Heckel’s fortunes. Although he was able to exhibit from 1933 to 1935, his art was denied recognition by the Nazis and, in 1937, was placed on the list of “degenerate art”. After the seizure and removal of his work from museums in 1937, Heckel retired from public life. Until the end of World War II, he preferred to paint in his summer retreat in the tiny village of Osterholz on the Flensburg Fjord. When his Berlin apartment was bombed in January 1944, he found a new refuge in Hemmenhofen on Lake Constance, where he remained after the war.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Following a nervous breakdown during World War I, Kirchner became heavily dependent on drugs. His self-portraits of these years—The Drinker and Self-portrait as Soldier (both 1915)—reflect his state of despair. He moved to Davos in Switzerland in 1917 and managed to wean himself there from morphine, staying until 1925. That year he returned to Germany for three months. He tried, in vain, to obtain a professorship and then went back to Switzerland. Although he enjoyed quite a high degree of recognition, he believed his art was inadequately appreciated. His painting style changed, becoming more abstract and with more emphasis on broad surfaces instead of lines.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Self-Portrait as a Soldier, 1915

He stayed in Switzerland and never returned to Germany. In a letter he describes a visit of his wife in Germany in 1935, which listed a number of positive aspects of life, although most of their acquaintances had left Germany. He expressed the hope that the new regime would ultimately triumph. He wrote that his ill health prevented him from returning.

Kirchner remained a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts until his expulsion in 1937. On June 15, 1938, he committed suicide in Davos, shooting himself in the heart. The motive for his suicide was probably not just a relapse into morphine addiction, but also, as his wife wrote after his death, the fact that 639 of his pictures had been removed from German museums and confiscated by the Nazis. Thirty-two of his paintings were displayed in the Degenerate Art exhibition, including his self-portrait as a soldier from 1915.

Max Pechstein

Max Pechstein came from a Social Democratic milieu and in 1933 was sacked from his teaching post. He protested fiercely when the Prussian Academy of Arts expelled left-wing artists such as Kollwitz and Heinrich Mann. Nevertheless, he remained a member of the Academy, which testifies to his wait-and-see attitude toward the regime. The Nazi sympathiser Nolde denounced him as a Jew, as mentioned in Part 1, only due to his name, but he must surely have been aware of Pechstein’s political views under the Weimar republic.

The Brücke Museum exhibits a number of letters that testify to Pechstein’s principled opposition to the Nazis. From the start of its reign of terror, Pechstein expressed his regrets at the departure of Jewish acquaintances and collectors. He clearly sided with Jewish friends and gallery owners, whom he appreciated, in contrast to the “purely Aryan art dealer Wolfgang Gurlitt”, who had cheated him “from the proceeds of his work.” (1)

Max Pechstein, Boy with Snowballs and Three Carnations, 1937

Some of Pechstein’s relations and acquaintances, however, were fervent Nazi supporters. He maintained these relationships and tried to adapt to their taste both in his painting style and content. Thus, the Berlin exhibition features a rather naturalistic portrait of his son (Boy with Snowballs and Three Carnations, 1937) with a short haircut and short pants, painted in the style of New Objectivity. Pechstein took part in a competition for the National Socialist organization Kraft durch Freude [Strength Through Joy] with a mural adorned by a swastika and was disappointed when it was rejected.

Prior to and during the 1930s, he spent months near the Baltic, at Lebasee (Łebsko Lake, now Poland) and went repeatedly to the Curonian Spit. There he founded the artists’ colony in Nidden (Nida). He painted landscapes, sunsets or fishing boats. When his economic situation became increasingly precarious, he decided to join the National Socialist People’s Welfare association and the National Socialist Air Corps. (2)

In 1937, Pechstein was expelled from the Academy, but could still occasionally exhibit up until 1939. The Degenerate Art exhibition featured 16 of his pictures while more than 326 were confiscated from the collections in German museums. In the same year, he wrote a letter to his sister Gertrud expressing his unfounded hope: “Fortunately, the military does not want a war.”

During the Second World War, Pechstein stayed mostly on the Baltic Sea in Pomerania. In 1943, his Berlin studio was destroyed, along with a large part of his work, in a bombing raid. Two years later he painted the ruins of a devastated Berlin.

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff

Even during the period of the Weimar Republic, Schmidt-Rottluff’s portraits were vilified by folkish-nationalist circles, while others saw him as a welcome representative of Nazi cultural ideology because of his depictions of peasant life. As a result, he initially held out certain hopes for the new regime—hopes that were quickly dashed. He withdrew to Pomerania and kept out of politics. Schmidt-Rottluff, however, continued to correspond with the critic Rosa Schapire, who had emigrated to London.

In 1933, he was expelled from the Academy, having joined two years earlier. In 1936, two of his landscape paintings were exhibited in Hamburg. However, more than 600 of his works were confiscated from museums with many on show at the Degenerate Art exhibition the following year. In 1939, several of his artworks were burned in the courtyard of Berlin’s main fire station.

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Uprooted Trees, 1934

Like many other artists, Schmidt-Rottluff received a “professional ban” in 1941 and could not sell his work. He had no access to art supplies and only survived with the help of friends. To keep working somehow he used chalk and pastels to sketch simple motifs like vegetables or feathers. He also painted some watercolours.

In September 1942, he was given the opportunity to stay and paint with Helmut James Graf von Moltke and his wife Freya at Schloss Kreisau in Lower Silesia. He shared his hosts’ rejection of the Nazis, but was unaware of the Christian-oriented resistance circle led by Moltke and his friends. (3) In 1943, Schmidt-Rottluff’s apartment in Berlin was destroyed by a bombing raid and he fled to the countryside.

In 1934, he painted the image Uprooted Trees, which was interpreted by art historians as a metaphor for his own “uprooting.” Other landscape paintings, such as Bridge with Icebreakers (1934), were interpreted as symbols of his subliminal resistance.

Conclusion

The principal merit of the Brücke Museum exhibition lies in the fact that it refrains from categorical judgements and instead objectively charts the behaviour and role played by the individual artists. The art of the Brücke painters and their attitude adopted in the Nazi period should neither be glorified nor simply condemned.

The surviving Brücke artists were appointed to academic posts after 1945 and their postwar paintings could and were used to rehabilitate German culture because they represented a significant modern art movement. Following the downfall of Nazis, broad layers of the population who had been culturally starved embraced modern art and were open to rediscovering its merits.

This occurred despite the fact that these painters and their art failed to express any sort of political resistance to the Nazis. What Leon Trotsky wrote in 1938 is particularly true of the Expressionists and their dilemma during Nazi rule:

“The decline of bourgeois society means an intolerable exacerbation of social contradictions, which are transformed inevitably into personal contradictions, calling forth an ever more burning need for a liberating art. Furthermore, a declining capitalism already finds itself completely incapable of offering the minimum conditions for the development of tendencies in art which correspond, however little, to our epoch. It fears superstitiously every new word, for it is no longer a matter of corrections and reforms for capitalism but of life and death. … Art, which is the most complex part of culture, the most sensitive and at the same time the least protected, suffers most from the decline and decay of bourgeois society.”(4)

Notes

Catalog: Escape into Art? Die Brücke Painters in the Nazi Period, Brücke Museum, Berlin, edited by Aya Soika, Meike Hoffmann and Lisa Marei Schmidt

(1) Pechstein filed a lawsuit against Wolfgang Gurlitt, a cousin of Hitler’s later art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, when in 1922 he refused to release work stored by the artist. Although Pechstein received most of his paintings under a court agreement, Gurlitt was allowed to keep eleven. For the ten paintings Pechstein sold that year, he received 180,000 Reichsmark from Gurlitt—a virtually worthless sum in Germany’s year of mass inflation.

(2) Bernhard Fulda, Aya Soika: Max Pechstein: The Rise and Fall of Expressionism, De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2012, p. 313.

(3) Kreisau Circle: a resistance group that rejected assassinations and designed plans for a society after the collapse of the Third Reich. Moltke was sentenced to death by the People’s Court in 1945 and executed.

(4) Leon Trotsky, Art and Politics in Our Epoch (June 1938), https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/06/artpol.htm

German painter Emil Nolde and nazism


This 13 April 2019 Associated Press video says about itself:

Emil Nolde, the ‘degenerate artist’ and Nazi supporter

A new exhibition in Berlin depicts the two sides to expressionist painter Emil Nolde: as someone who was considered a “degenerate artist” by the Nazi regime but at the same time supported Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.

The exhibition has already lead to a re-evaluation of Nolde in the German art history, with one of his paintings being removed from the German Federal Chancellery building.

STORYLINE

This painting, called “Lost Paradise” is typical of Emil Nolde.

Emil Nolde, Lost Paradise

Bright colours, thick brushstrokes, lines that are emphasised. It is what makes him one of the great expressionist painters of inter-war Germany.

It was also considered a “degenerate artwork” by the National Socialist party as early as 1928, five years before the party, under Adolph Hitler, rose to power.

Nolde, who died in 1956, was among the prominent artists whose work was condemned as “degenerate art” under Nazi rule.

But he was also a Nazi party member and, as the exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof museum shows, an anti-Semite and believer in Nazi ideology who held out hopes of winning the regime’s recognition even after he was banned in 1941 from exhibiting, selling and publishing.

“The interesting thing about Emil Nolde – one of the most famous German artists of the 20th century – is that he was both a victim of the National Socialist politics of art and at the same time a supporter of the regime and that he defended it all the way until 1945”, says Aya Soika, co-curator of exhibition

“So how do we deal with an artist that is both a victim and an accomplice?”

The exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin deals with the issue by raising it whenever possible.

The exhibition includes documents from throughout Nolde’s career, including anti-Semitic letters from the artist dating back to before World War I.

It explores his conviction that he was a misunderstood artistic genius and his claim that he was boycotted by a supposedly Jewish-dominated art scene.

Along Nolde’s paintings are texts explaining how he supported Hitler and the Nazis and the title of the exhibition “Emil Nolde: A German legend / A National Socialist artist” sets the tone.

“I think it is important that we talk about this issue instead of just looking at the pictures”, says Christian Ring, Director of the Nolde foundation.

“The pictures are of course one thing but you have to consider the other side of Nolde when you look at the picture.”

“And I think that is really important. This exhibition is about letting visitors find their own way of dealing with this. What do we know and what do we see and how do we deal with this´? And how does the new knowledge about Nolde change the way we look at his works?”

There are some signs that Nolde changed his paintings after the Nazi party rose to power, and he found himself in the position of being a Nazi party member but at the same time considered a “degenerate artist“.

He stopped painting religious motifs and started painting Viking warriors, something that might have appealed more to the Nazi party.

However, he did not paint in the … style preferred by the Nazis.

“It really is a paradox. On one side a “degenerate artist”. On the other side a Nazi supporter”, says Ring.

“But I think that we still don’t have a full picture of the Nazi years. We still think about it as black and white. But we have to acknowledge that there are a lot of grey zones.”

His paintings hang in museums, private homes and official buildings across the country.

By Sybille Fuchs and Stefan Steinberg in Germany:

Modern art in Germany and the Nazis, Part 1: Emil Nolde

24 July 2019

Two art exhibitions currently running in Berlin raise important questions about the relationship of certain modern artists to the Hitler regime in Germany.

The Hamburger Bahnhof contemporary art museum is holding an exhibition of paintings by Emil Nolde (1876-1956), Emil Nolde—A German Legend. The Artist during the Nazi Regime, which deals with the artist’s relationship to the Nazis and their ideology.

The Brücke Museum takes up the same theme in Escape into Art? The Brücke Painters in the Nazi Period, concentrating on the artists Erich Heckel (1883-1970), Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976), Max Pechstein (1881-1950) and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938). In 1905, this collective founded the well-known artistic group Die Brücke (The Bridge).

This article deals with the Nolde exhibition, a second will deal with the Brücke painters.

Emil Nolde—A German Legend. The Artist during the Nazi Regime

In 1937, Emil Nolde had more of his paintings confiscated and put on display at the notorious Nazi Degenerate Art exhibition—which included work by Cubists, Surrealists, Dadaists, Expressionists and others that the Hitler regime despised—than any other German artist. Hundreds of his works were destroyed and 1,052 were removed from museums. Despite this, Nolde remained a loyal supporter of Hitler until the downfall of the Nazi regime in 1945.

Emil Nolde

Nolde is regarded in Germany and internationally as one of the main representatives of classical modernism. His works hang in many museums and adorn countless art books. His paintings of flowers and landscapes have been reproduced in countless prints, and reproductions of his works hang in many living rooms.

The great popularity of Nolde’s art is in no small measure bound up with the fact that he was denounced by the Nazis as a “degenerate” artist and, following the end of World War II, was elevated to the status of resistance figure. The excellent exhibition in the Hamburger Bahnhof museum provides a great deal of information concerning the contradictions in Nolde’s biography, how they relate to the public perception of his art and how he should be evaluated historically.

Until recently, Nolde was mainly associated in the public eye with his mistreatment by the Hitler regime, but recent research has revealed the full extent of his anti-Semitism and embrace of Nazi ideology, which he and his followers sought to conceal after 1945.

The current exhibition follows the artistic career of Nolde and displays his paintings, watercolours and graphics together with letters and other documents given in historical context, describing his reaction as an artist and human being to the events and circumstances of the time. A two-volume catalog has been published for the exhibition, documenting his artistic work accompanied by written testimonials. (1)

Nolde’s origins

Nolde was born Hans Emil Hansen in 1867 in the village of Nolde near Tønder (Northern Schleswig, today part of Denmark). His father was a farmer. As a child, Hans Emil was passionate about painting, a passion his parents did not share. In their opinion, he was to get a “proper” job as a craftsman or farmer. After completing a woodcarving apprenticeship in Flensburg, the young man became a teacher of commercial drawing and modelling in the Swiss town of St. Gallen. He also worked for a time as a carver in furniture factories in Karlsruhe, Munich and Berlin.

In 1898, he was rejected by the Munich Art Academy and instead received training in the arts at private painting schools. He traveled to Paris and attended the Académie Julian, where artists Paula Modersohn-Becker and Clara Westhoff also studied. In 1900, he moved into a studio in Copenhagen and, two years later, married a priest’s daughter and actress, Ada Vilstrup. He changed his last name to his birthplace in Nolde, to stress his “Nordic” background.

Pentecost, Emil Nolde, 1909

During this period he painted his first religious images springing from “childhood memories and his own imagination.” (2) One of them, Pentecost, which he submitted in 1910 for an exhibition of the Berlin Secession movement (an artists’ group that had set itself up in 1898 against the dominant academic trend), was rejected by its president, the painter Max Liebermann.

“If the picture is hung, I’ll quit my post,” Liebermann, who was Jewish, is alleged to have said. Nolde retaliated in an offensive manner and was expelled from the Secession movement.

Max Liebermann, 1904

The altercation and Nolde’s increasingly poisonous anti-Semitism were instrumental in the break-up of the Secession movement. From that point on, Nolde raged incessantly against what he regarded as a Jewish-dominated art market and cultural environment that refused to recognise his talent.

Again and again, he saw himself as a victim, as a misunderstood genius and blamed Jewish art critics. Nolde and his wife broke off their friendship with the Jewish critic Rosa Schapire, who sponsored the Brücke artists and also greatly encouraged Nolde: “The fast-growing friendship between her and us soon collapsed again. Only ashes remain. Gone with the wind. In art it was my first conscious encounter with a human different from myself. … Jews have a lot of intelligence and spirituality, but little soul and little creative talent,” he wrote in his autobiography. (3)

The original editions of the first two volumes of his autobiography, My Own Life (1930) and Years of Struggle (1934), which cover the years 1867 to 1914, contain numerous nationalist, racist and anti-Semitic remarks.

Expressionism

Nolde’s work is associated with the artistic tendency known as Expressionism, although he himself rejected this term. Expressionist art and literature emerged in Germany in the first decades of the 20th century as a countermovement to Naturalism and Impressionism. The model to be followed was French Fauvism with its expressive colours. Its followers rejected any immediate imitation of nature in favour of an aggressive deformation of subject matter. Their works were often characterised by stark colours and contrasts, often drawing from so-called “primitive” African and Oceanic art.

The term was coined by the journalist Herwarth Walden, editor of the magazine Der Sturm (The Storm), which published works by many leading Expressionists. The journal Die Aktion (The Action), edited by Franz Pfemfert, was also an important publication featuring literary texts, as well as numerous graphics by Expressionist artists. (Both Walden and Pfemfert later joined the fledgling Communist Party of Germany. Walden died in the Stalinist purges in the Soviet Union in 1941. Pfemfert became personally associated with Leon Trotsky, and his wife, Alexandra Ramm, did extensive translation of Trotsky’s works.)

The Burial of Jezus, Emil Nolde, 1915, oil on canvas, 87 x 117 cm, Stiftung Nolde, Seebüll, Nasjonalmuseet, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Norway

The Expressionist painters were concerned with shaping the world according to their own subjective feelings and impressions, rather than attempting to depict physical reality. Manifold examples of such work were produced by the artists’ associations Die Brücke and also Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). Many of those involved in these groups, including Nolde, enthusiastically welcomed World War I in 1914 as a gigantic storm that would thoroughly rock the tectonic plates of an encrusted age.

Politically, the Expressionist movement was very diverse. Its political statements were largely diffuse and non-committal. Representatives of the movement regarded themselves as rebels against the bureaucratic, backwards-looking cultural policy and decadence of the Wilhelmine Period in Germany (1890-1918), but they largely rejected socialist ideals in favour of the anti-bourgeois sentiments expressed in the irrational philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer and Henri Bergson.

They rebelled against the decadence and narrow mindedness of the bourgeoisie and the established schools of art—Impressionism, Naturalism and Art Nouveau. The same period saw the emergence of similar tendencies such as the Lebensreform (Life Reform) and Jugend (Youth) movements, as well as Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy. These were tendencies that appealed to and were predominantly propagated by layers of the petty bourgeoisie, who rebelled against the bourgeois world, industrialisation and urbanisation. They rejected what they called the vulgar “materialism” of capitalist society and often sought instead a romantic, back-to-nature alternative. They had little in common with Marxism, socialist ideas or the working class.

“Storms of Colour”—Nolde and Die Brücke

The Die Brücke artistic group (Heckel, Pechstein, Kirchner and Schmidt-Rottluff) was founded in Dresden, and Nolde felt at home in the group. In February 1906, Schmidt-Rottluff wrote a letter to Nolde, who was about fifteen years older, inviting him to become a member of the association: “Dear Mr. Nolde, think what you want, we want to repay you accordingly for your storms of colour.”

Nolde gladly accepted the invitation and remained linked to Die Brücke after he left the group the following year. He was “disturbed” by the group’s alleged effort to create a unified artistic style, noting: “You should not call yourself a bridge, but rather van Goghiana.” Nolde’s own art was influenced by both Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, among others.

In 1912, Nolde exhibited alongside the Blue Rider group, a second group of significant Expressionist artists, founded by Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky. During this period, Nolde acquired recognition in the art world and was able to live comfortably from his painting.

South Sea Islander, Emil Nolde, 1915 lithograph in colors, on wove paper, Brooklyn Museum

A year later, Nolde and his wife took part in a South Seas expedition organised by the German government’s Colonial Office, which landed them in New Guinea. Nolde’s task was to investigate the “racial peculiarities of the population.” He regarded progressive colonisation as a danger to indigenous peoples, who allegedly lived in harmony with nature. He had previously studied the art of “primitive” peoples in the Berlin Ethnological Museum in search of the “strange, primeval and primitive.” (6) The First World War broke out as Nolde was returning from his trip. Nolde welcomed the outbreak of war.

In connection with an early self-portrait of Nolde, reminiscent of Rembrandt’s self-portraits, the curators Bernhard Fulda and Aya Soika explain in the introduction to the Hamburger Bahnhof catalog that Nolde and his wife Ada revered Julius Langbehn (1851-1907) and his book Rembrandt as Teacher. Langbehn’s book claimed that Rembrandt was the most “German of all German painters”, a representative of a “purely German art” and portrayed the great Dutch painter as a figure who could be identified with a “Greater Germany.” Such nostrums were integral to the ideological baggage of Nazism.

For Nolde, Langbehn’s image of the “individual artist as a sacred figure” and “national saviour” was extraordinarily attractive, the curators write, above all, because he always understood himself as a misunderstood genius, a heroic prophet whose time was yet to come.

“The Expressionist dispute” in Nazi cultural circles

A fierce debate about Expressionism developed inside the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP, the Nazi party) in the 1920s and early ‘30s. In particular, the dispute revolved around Nolde. The exhibition curators reveal that surprisingly Nolde had a number of prominent supporters in the Nazi ranks. His religious images, later denounced by Hitler as monstrosities and prominently featured in the “Degenerate Art” exhibition of 1937, were initially praised by some critics as being inspired by the spirit of German Gothic art.

Statements made by Hitler’s chief ideologue, Alfred Rosenberg, are prime examples of the initial vacillating attitude of some National Socialists, as far as avant-garde art was concerned.

Rosenberg praised Expressionism in 1922 as a groundbreaking German style in his work The Myth of the 20th Century (1930), while denouncing contemporary painters, including Ernst Barlach, Käthe Kollwitz and Nolde as “Cultural Bolsheviks” and “bunglers.” His verdict on Nolde was damning, but he left a small door open. In 1933, he ascribed a certain talent to Nolde and Ernst Barlach, only to later denounce Nolde’s “portraiture attempts” as “negroid, irreverent and devoid of any real inner formative power” in the Völkischer Beobachter, the Nazi Party’s newspaper. (6)

For his part, Nolde continued to place high hopes in National Socialism and in the eventual recognition of his art by leading Nazis. To demonstrate his ideological loyalty, he joined the National Socialist Association of Northern Schleswig, a Danish branch of the NSDAP, in 1934. (He had been a Danish citizen since the Treaty of Versailles.)

Nolde publicly welcomed National Socialism and leading Nazis—including Josef Goebbels, Hermann Göring and Albert Speer—owned his artwork and praised it as a powerful expression of German and Nordic culture. However, Nolde soon fell out of grace, along with other Expressionists, after Adolf Hitler’s seizure of power in 1933. He was a victim of the Nazis’ “blood and soil” ideology directed by Hitler, a failed painter himself lacking any artistic skill.

The more the Nazis consolidated their power and set course for war, the more rigorous became their censorship and suppression of art.

Emil Nolde, Sunflowers (1932). Detroit Institute of Arts, Gift of Robert H. Tannahill, © Nolde Stiftung Seebüll.jpg

On November 8, 1933, Nolde accepted an invitation from SS leader Heinrich Himmler to attend the tenth anniversary of Hitler’s unsuccessful coup d’état in 1923 in Munich. The artist apparently expected his art would be warmly embraced by the Nazis. He assumed—in vain—that they would declare Expressionism to be Germany’s national art form.

Göring had watercolours by Nolde in his apartment—until Hitler told him to take them down during a visit. Despite his initial support of the Expressionists, culture minister Goebbels and other leading Nazis finally capitulated to the romanticised, cliché-ridden and reactionary artistic taste of the Führer. As early as 1933, Nolde was asked to quit the Prussian Academy of Arts, which he refused to do. His application for membership in Rosenberg’s Militant League for German Culture was also rejected.

In the summer of 1933, Nolde went so far as to draft his own “banish the Jews plan” for Germany, which he tried to submit to Hitler. His plan called for the resettlement of the entire Jewish population. He also denounced his Brücke colleague Max Pechstein as a Jew on the basis of the latter’s name. Pechstein was forced to deny the accusation by providing “proof” that he was indeed “Aryan.” In the same year, Nolde sent two portraits to Goebbels to show to Hitler. Nolde described his art to Goebbels as “German, strong, bitter and heartfelt.”

Although these attempts to find pardon were unsuccessful, Nolde still enjoyed some success in the art world over the next few years. He was able to exhibit and his paintings sold well.

“Degenerate Art”

The tide turned decisively against Nolde in 1937, although the year had begun well for him. His works had been exhibited in Munich, Berlin and Mannheim.

Hitler had proclaimed his own conception of German art at the Reich Party Convention in Nuremberg in September 1935. Art must be, the German Nazi leader declared, “the real herald of the sublime and the beautiful and thus bearer of the natural and healthy.” Hitler vilified all types of modern art as “Jewish-Bolshevist cultural mockery”: “It is not the function of art to wallow in dirt for dirt’s sake, never its task to paint the state of decomposition, to draw cretins as the symbol of motherhood, to picture hunchbacked idiots as representatives of any strength.”

The Degenerate Art exhibition visited by Joseph Goebbels in February 1938, with two paintings by Emil Nolde (hanging left of the door)

The Nazis organised their infamous Degenerate Art exhibition, with 650 works confiscated from German museums that were deemed to “insult German feeling, or destroy or confuse natural form or simply reveal an absence of adequate manual and artistic skill,” in July 1937. The exhibition featured works by Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, George Grosz, Kandinsky, Kirchner and many others.

Nolde was prominently represented in the exhibition with 57 works. He wrote numerous letters of protest in which he pointed out that in his career as an artist he had been “opposed to the alienation of German art, to the filthy art trade, and the excessive Jewish predominance in all artistic matters.” Therefore, the censorship of his own art must be due to “misunderstandings” that required clarification. (7)

He eventually managed to get his pictures removed from the exhibition when it set off for a tour of German cities. However, much of his work was confiscated and all his paintings were removed from museums. Many of his works were sold abroad for foreign currency, but a large number were simply destroyed.

In 1941, Nolde was expelled from the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts. He was prevented from any professional or part-time activity in the field of the visual arts because his work “did not meet requirements demanded since 1933 for all visual artists working in Germany.” The 74-year-old artist could no longer exhibit or sell and could not purchase painting utensils, but this did not amount to an explicit “ban on painting”, as he himself claimed.

Even these drastic measures did not shake Nolde’s faith in Nazism. He and his wife continued until the end of the war to believe in “final victory,” although they suffered the loss of around 3,000 artworks in the 1944 bombing of their Berlin apartment.

Nolde painted many small watercolours in these years, which later served as templates for oil paintings. Nolde himself and art historians later referred to this body of work as his “Unpainted pictures”. Although seemingly spontaneously painted on just a few scraps of paper, they are in fact composed quite carefully and Nolde was even able to complete a few of them at the time as oil paintings. His subject matter during this period consisted mainly of flowers, landscapes or figures from Norse mythology. After 1933, Nolde had switched from “Jewish” Biblical figures to Nordic heroes, castles, sacrificial sites and landscapes, even though he never adapted to the type of painting favoured by Hitler.

Sixty of the “unpainted pictures” were turned into oil paintings after the war and represent a large part of Nolde’s postwar work.

After the war: Nolde’s elevation to the status of resistance hero

Nolde was given a clean bill of health in the denazification trials in 1946, due to the Nazis’ rejection of his art. As the current Berlin exhibition documents, the painter was portrayed in the postwar period as the personification of the persecuted modern artist and even a sort of resistance fighter against the Nazi dictatorship. The Nolde Foundation contributed strongly to this image.

Nolde’s longstanding Nazi membership was concealed and his four-volume autobiography was largely cleansed of anti-Semitic and racist passages. His estate in Seebüll became a kind of pilgrimage site.

He received numerous German and international honours and exhibitions up until his death in 1956 and beyond. In 1950, German president Theodor Heuss (Free Democratic Party), a trained art historian, insisted that Nolde accompany him on a visit to Schleswig-Holstein. In 1952, Nolde received the Pour le Mérite order of merit, the highest German award for science and art. His paintings were displayed on several occasions at the Venice Biennale as well as at the documenta 1 exhibition in Kassel in 1955, which was dedicated to the “degenerate” artists defamed by the Nazis.

Nolde and his art played an important role in West Germany during the Cold War and the downplaying of the crimes committed by the Nazis. In the documenta 1 catalog, art historian Werner Haftmann wrote that the idea of creative freedom was essential to combat the supposed instrumentalisation of art under Bolshevism. Haftmann was also one of the most important propagators of the legends surrounding Nolde’s “Unpainted Pictures.” (8)

Nolde was revered as a figure of “resistance” by representatives of all the main political parties. Nolde was used by both politicians and cultural officials alike to demonstrate that postwar Germany had turned over a new leaf and was undergoing a democratic “new beginning.” Nolde was perfectly suited to help cover the tracks of those who had compromised themselves during the Nazi regime and sought to rid themselves of any guilt or complicity in its crimes. Even after his death, Nolde was made use of as part of Germany’s “coming to grips with the past” via the zealous involvement of the foundation in Seebüll. As late as 2013, Nolde biographer Kirsten Jüngling was denied access to the Nolde archive. She was, however, able to draw upon numerous other publicly available letters and documents. (9)

One of the leading patrons of Nolde’s art was a former leader of the Social Democratic Party, Helmut Schmidt. In his position as Germany’s chancellor, Schmidt wrote to his friend author Siegfried Lenz that Nolde was the greatest German artist of the century. Schmidt went on to assert that Nolde’s inclusion in the Degenerate Art exhibition was the reason for his own rejection of Nazism as a 17-year-old. During his years as chancellor, 1974-1982, Schmidt exhibited paintings by Nolde in the Chancellery in Bonn. Lenz’s well-known novel, The German Lesson, played its own role in elevating Nolde’s stature and was often read as if it were a non-fiction work about the persecuted artist.

Schmidt, shortly before his death in 2015, wrote the introduction to a Nolde exhibition catalog in Hamburg. In it he briefly mentions that there had been a controversy over Nolde’s Nazi connections, but wrote nothing more.

Only after the death of Nolde’s second wife Jolanthe in 2010 and a change in the management of the Ada and Emil Nolde Foundation in Seebüll were the painter’s archives gradually made available for research, enabling Nolde’s real attitude to Nazism to be discussed publicly. A number of such documents were first made available to the public in an exhibition at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt five years ago. The Frankfurt exhibition drew attention to the significant changes in Nolde’s artistic subject matter following Hitler’s seizure of power.

The Hamburger Bahnhof exhibition was able to draw on recent research by its two curators, Aya Soika and Bernhard Fulda, who had complete access to the archives of the Nolde Foundation. The exhibition exposes the extensive efforts of Nolde and his wife Ada to consolidate their relations with the Hitler regime and avoid censorship.

A visitor to the Berlin exhibition could not help being struck by the sight of visitors of all ages poring over the documentation and letters at hand, as well as intensively examining the artwork on display.

What makes an assessment of Nolde and his art complex, given the reality of his abject opportunism and fidelity to Nazism, is the fact that he did not adapt his artistic style to the backward-looking, monumental and parochial inclinations of Hitler and his followers. Nolde did not paint in the manner of Adolf Ziegler, a wretched painter and an organiser of the Degenerate Art exhibition, and many other artists exhibited in the large Great German Art exhibition of 1937 in the newly built Haus der Kunst in Munich.

The fact that it is now possible to correctly classify Nolde and his art historically is in large part due to the current exhibition and its curators.

The latest revelations about Nolde have failed to affect the value of his pictures on the capitalist art market. As Kirsten Jüngling explained in an interview: “Immediately after the publication of my book, I asked around at Art Cologne and quizzed gallery owners if the recent publications on Nolde’s political past had had any effect on the desire to buy (his paintings). It was annoying. You have to know that enormous amounts are paid for Expressionist pictures, not least because they represent stable investments. People get nervous when the Nolde company shows signs of weakness.” (10)

Notes:

(1) Emil Nolde: The Artist during the Nazi Regime, Bernhard Fulda, Christian Ring and Aya Soika, Prestel, 2019

(2) Christian Ring, “Art itself is my language,” in: Emil Nolde—The Great Colour Wizard, Munich 2018, 29

(3) Emil Nolde, Years of Struggle, Rembrandt Verlag, Berlin 1934, 101, 102

(4) Ring, 22f

(5) Leon Trotsky, Literature and Revolution, Berlin 1994, p. 132, 133

(6) https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunst_im_Nationalsozialismus

(7) Ring, 37

(8) Werner Haftmann, Emil Nolde—Unpainted Pictures, 7th edition, Cologne 1996

(9) Kirsten Jüngling, Emil Nolde. Die Farben sind meine Noten, Berlin 2013

(10) Kirsten Jüngling, Interview in tageszeitung:

http://www.taz.de/Nolde-Biografin-ueber-schwierige-Aufarbeitung/!5432445/

British neo-nazi ‘Tommy Robinson’ obstructed rape trial


This 12 July 2019 satiric music video from Britain is called Tommy Aid – Do They Know It’s North Korea?

It is parody of the Band Aid song Do They Know It’s Christmas?

It says about itself:

Tommy Robinson’s most eminent backers have come together on a song to raise awareness of his plight – this is Tommy Aid with “Do They Know It’s North Korea?”

Featuring Katie Hopkins, Morrissey, Paul Joseph Watson, Jordan Peterson, Sargon of Akkad, Count Dankula, Alex Jones (InfoWars, not One Show) and President Donald Trump.

By Laura Tiernan in England:

Fascist Tommy Robinson jailed for jeopardising rape trial in Leeds

12 July 2019

Fascist demagogue Tommy Robinson

‘Tommy Robinson‘ is NOT the real name of that racist. This former member of the neonazi BNP, sentenced for violent crime and later for fraud, is called Stephen Yaxley-Lennon … err … that sounds too Irish, as neonazis hate not only Muslims, Jews, Africans, etc. etc. but Irish people as well. So, he prefers calling himself the more Germanic “Tommy Robinson“.

was sentenced to nine months in prison yesterday, after the High Court found him guilty of contempt of court. But his sentence was reduced to 19 weeks due to time already served, and he will be released in half that time.

Robinson arrived at his sentencing hearing backed by hundreds of far-right demonstrators, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Convicted of journalism”. But the High Court’s ruling confirmed that Robinson’s provocative actions jeopardised an ongoing rape trial in Leeds, infringing the due process rights of all parties. His sole interest in the case was to incite anti-Muslim hatred.

Robinson was found guilty of contempt on three grounds: for breaching court reporting restrictions, for livestreaming outside the court’s entrance in a manner that risked impeding the course of justice, and for his aggressive actions towards defendants “thereby directly interfering with the course of justice”.

He was arrested in May 2018 for “aggressively confronting and filming” defendants at a child grooming trial at Leeds Crown Court. Robinson defied temporary court reporting restrictions to livestream a fascistic rant against “Muslim paedophiles” and “Muslim rapists” while the jury was considering its verdict.

Robinson’s livestream risked aborting the trial—the second of three “linked” child grooming cases in Huddersfield—with the judgment stating that “counsel for two of the defendants applied unsuccessfully for the discharge of the jury, relying among other things on the way in which the respondent had confronted the defendants and the allegedly prejudicial nature of what had been said.”

According to press reports, Robinson came close to collapsing the trial after a jury member “mentioned” Robinson’s actions. The Independent reported that counsel for five of the defendants appealed for the jury’s dismissal, telling the judge it was “inconceivable” that Robinson’s livestream had not come to the jurors’ attention. Judge Marson QC rejected their request and refused to question the jury on the matter.

Robinson’s actions were an assault on fundamental democratic rights. He incited violence against defendants who were legally entitled to the presumption of innocence. The judgment quoted excerpts from Robinson’s livestream in which he appealed to viewers, “You want to harass someone’s family? You see that man who was getting aggressive as he walked into court, the man who faces charges of child abduction, rape, prostitution—harass him, find him, go knock on his door, follow him, see where he works, see what he’s doing.”

His appeal to lynch-mob “justice” was clear. In an exchange that was subsequently viewed more than 3.5 million times, a passerby tells Robinson of a male defendant he has just attacked on camera, “hang him”.

Robinson’s actions created a “real and substantial” risk of violence against the defendants, the court found. One defendant did later abscond after a protest by Robinson’s supporters, with the High Court finding “there was plainly a real risk that the defendants awaiting jury verdicts would see themselves as at risk, feel intimidated, and that this would have a significant adverse impact on their ability to participate in the closing stages of the trial. That in itself would represent a serious impediment to the course of justice.”

The High Court rejected Robinson’s “elaborate” and “inconsistent” claims to have “researched” and “made enquiries” about whether court reporting restrictions were active. Robinson claimed he had looked online and sent a colleague to check screens and a court door inside the building before he started filming at 8:32 a.m.—a claim he made for the first time in October 2018, “months after the event.” The High Court found Robinson’s scenario was a physical impossibility. Moreover, Robinson had stated in his livestream, “Now there is a reporting restriction on this case.”

Robinson deliberately courted his own arrest. His livestream included the following admission: “I am walking a thin line because basically the police put on a suspended prison sentence…if the police can pin anything on me, I’ll be going to jail for three months.”

Later that day, Robinson was found guilty of contempt with Judge Marson imposing a 13-month custodial sentence. This was overturned on procedural grounds with the case referred to the attorney general, who ordered fresh proceedings in the public interest.

Over the past 14 months, Robinson’s contempt case has been seized on by an international network of fascist and far-right politicians who have boosted him as a “free speech martyr”.

Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media, US think tank the Middle East Forum and the Gatestone Foundation, backed by key Trump supporters, have funnelled money and support to Robinson. Their repeated claims that Robinson is the “victim” of a state conspiracy to protect Muslims from “justice” have been used to boost Robinson’s bank account, with the former English Defence League founder having raised an estimated £2 million since May last year.

On Monday, Robinson issued a video appeal to US President Donald Trump calling for “political asylum”.

“I feel like I’m two days away from being sentenced to death in the UK, for journalism,” Robinson claimed. “I’m calling on the help of Donald Trump, his administration and the Republican Party to grant me and my family political asylum in the United States of America.”

Robinson’s video underlined the backing he enjoys from the world’s most powerful state, reaching into the office of the president of the United States. In May of last year, Trump’s son Donald Jr. tweeted in support of Robinson while former Trump adviser Steve Bannon described Robinson as “the backbone of this country.” Since his arrest in Britain, Robinson has been hired by UKIP leader Gerard Batten as a political adviser.

In Monday’s video to Trump, Robinson recalled that “Congressmen from the Republican Party” had “stepped in to put pressure on the British government” over his jailing last year. “Now it’s not pressure that’s needed—I need evacuation out of this country.”

His video was launched on the fascistic InfoWars channel presented by Alex Jones. The segment’s filthy fascist rantings included claims that British Muslims were killing English girls and selling their flesh in döner kebabs. Underscoring the connections that exist between the Trump White House and a myriad of far-right networks, Jones promised that Trump and his fascist adviser Stephen Miller would “probably get five minutes to watch this.”

Robinson’s appeal to Trump for political asylum forms an obscene contrast to the ongoing state persecution of WikiLeaks journalist Julian Assange. Hailed by Robinson as the “leader of the free world”, Trump heads an administration that has brought Espionage Act charges against Assange with a prison term of 175 years. In 2010, Trump stated that Assange should face the death penalty.

German TV on hospital in Hitler age


This 26 June 2019 video is called NETFLIX – CHARITÉ AT WAR series Review – NON spoilers,

By Joanne Laurier:

Charité at War: A chilling portrayal of Nazism and its crimes

11 July 2019

All over the world, ruling elites are responding to the heightening of social tensions and widespread opposition to poverty and war by lurching to the right, resorting to police-state methods and reviving the ideological and political filth of the 20th century. In Germany, neo-Nazi activity has become a major political danger.

One of the indispensable duties of artists today is to depict realistically what Nazism was and what it meant for masses of people. Leon Trotsky once commented, “The sole feature of fascism which is not counterfeit is its will to power, subjugation, and plunder. Fascism is a chemically pure distillation of the culture of imperialism.”

In its own way, Charité at War, a powerful German television drama currently available on Netflix, gives life to Trotsky’s proposition. The series is set in the years 1943 to 1945 at Berlin’s Charité hospital, one of the most prominent in Europe. Created by Dorothee Schön, directed by Anno Saul and co-written by Schön and Sabine Thor-Wiedemann, the six episodes actually make up the second season of a series devoted to the institution—the first takes place in 1888 and following years.

Inevitably, central to Charité at War’s storyline is the crushing impact of the Nazi regime on every aspect of life and the degree to which the various doctors, nurses, staff and family members, a mix of historical and fictional figures, offer either resistance or support to the Hitler dictatorship and its policies.

“How does the Hippocratic Oath square with an oath to the Führer?,” asks one of the characters rhetorically. Viewed by millions in Germany, Charité at War is a forthright and chilling appraisal of the fascist poison that seeped into every fiber of German society. It is clearly directed against the contemporary rise of neo-Nazi and far-right elements.

Certain characters and strands of the complex plot stand out. One of the leading doctors at the Charité is Ferdinand Sauerbruch (Ulrich Noethen), a surgeon, an innovator in surgical procedures and prosthetics, who has been at the hospital since 1928. (“I defended [Albert] Einstein, the most hated scientist in the Third Reich.”) Sauerbruch is a German nationalist and a conservative, but he criticizes the Nazis and their dictates.

In the series, Sauerbruch’s chief adversary is Max de Crinis (Lukas Miko), a psychiatrist, high-ranking SS member and medical expert for the Aktion T4, a mass murder program of involuntary euthanasia. As many as 300,000 mentally ill and physically handicapped people were killed under this Nazi program in Germany and Austria, occupied Poland and Czechoslovakia. In his Mein Kampf (1924), Adolf Hitler had claimed that racial hygiene would “appear as a deed greater than the most victorious wars of our present bourgeois era.” (Both Sauerbruch and de Crinis were historical figures.)

Anni Waldhausen (Mala Emde), one of de Crinis’s most promising PhD students, is married to Artur (Artjom Gilz), a pediatrician who, unbeknownst to his wife, is testing out medications on disabled children considered disposable by the Nazis.

The duplicitous Artur’s reactionary predilections surface in a lecture he delivers to nurses about being the guardians of genetic material: “Our goal is to increase fertility for good gene holders and to prevent unwanted genetic illnesses.”

Artur describes his work, according to the precepts of Nazi “racial purity” theory, as research into the “sterilization of genetically unsuitable subjects. The genetic value of a person is determined by the tribe and not their looks or health condition. Your information regarding genetic diseases and anti-social elements is the foundation of our tribal registration in determining if the parents of disabled children should be sterilized.”

In a horrible twist of fate, Anni delivers a child, Karin, with hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, making the infant a potential victim of the euthanasia program. In the maternity ward, Anni shares a room with Magda Goebbels (Katharina Heyer)—wife of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister—who is suicidal because of a recent miscarriage.

When surreptitious efforts to cure Karin fail, Artur takes action behind Anni’s back. Some of the most tension-filled moments concern Karin’s destiny.

Anni’s life is further complicated by the fact that her anti-Nazi brother, Dr. Otto Marquardt (Jannik Schümann), is gay and recently returned from the frontline. He and his lover, nurse Martin Schelling (Jacob Matschenz), must avoid the prying and spying eyes of the vindictive Nazi collaborator, Nurse Christel (Frida-Lovisa Hamann), who is committed to Germany’s “ultimate victory”.

Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code made homosexual acts between men illegal. The Hitler regime broadened the provision, in the name of defending the “moral health” of the Volk, the German people. Nazi persecution included the conviction of some 42,000 homosexuals. Ten thousand gay men were sent to concentration camps, 60 percent of whom did not survive.

One of the most admirable anti-Nazi figures in Charité at War is Adolphe Jung (Hans Löw), a French physician (and another real historical figure) forcibly transferred from Occupied France by the German authorities to the Charité. In Episode 2, he informs Sauerbruch that famed German writer Thomas Mann, in a radio broadcast, has revealed that there are deliberate killings at the Charité: “In German hospitals,” says Mann, “they put the seriously injured together with the old, frail and mentally ill in order to kill them with nerve gas. … The regime tells us it’s a Christian crusade against the Bolsheviks. It is nothing but genocide and mass murder.”

Sauerbruch is skeptical that such horrors could possibly be taking place in his hospital. His physician wife and staunchest defender Margot (Luise Wolfram) tells Jung: “My husband is neither a Nazi nor in the party. He is a doctor not a politician.” To which Jung replies firmly: “In these times everything is political.”

Margot and Sauerbruch attempt to shield opposition figure Hans von Dohnányi (Max von Pufendorf) from the perfidious de Crinis and the Gestapo, into whose clutches he will eventually fall, resulting in his being sent to a concentration camp and murdered.

In 1945, the end of the Hitler regime draws near. There are more and more air raids as the Soviet army approaches. Berlin, the German capital, is the last stand for the Nazis, who want every doctor and nurse to handle a bazooka. In the end, the Nazi authorities become preoccupied with destroying evidence of their crimes, killing patients and, ultimately, themselves.

When Soviet soldiers enter the hospital, Artur, wearing a yellow star of David given to him by the Jewish father of an injured boy, negotiates their takeover of Charité. He performs the role of a self-sacrificing hero, in part to try and salvage his relationship with Anni. More importantly, he fears being prosecuted as a Nazi collaborator. Interestingly, one of the Soviet troops identifies Sauerbruch as the physician who treated Lenin’s tooth 30 years earlier—in Zurich.

All in all, Charité at War makes a consistently honest, convincing effort to present the horrible truth of this historical period. The unbearable pressure exerted by Nazi rule brings out the best and the worst in people. In terms of the latter, every weakness, fear, jealousy, opportunist impulse and desire for authority over others is amplified and can even take a murderous turn.

Artur under “normal” circumstances would be a conventional middle class professional and family man. However, his highly pronounced conformism and unwillingness to stand up against the fascist authorities make him a vessel for the carrying out of genuine atrocities. The series points out that Jewish personnel were all expelled from the hospital in 1933.

The acting is first-rate and committed in Charité at War, and the entire project has a sober, serious air to it. One striking visual feature is that many scenes open with actual historical footage then blended into the drama.

The series raises vital issues. The fascist threat arises from the crisis of capitalism. The Nazi regime was the terrible price the German working class paid, thanks to the Social Democratic and Stalinist misleaders who stood at their head, for the failure to overthrow the bourgeois order. Fascism is not a mass movement today, but there can’t be the slightest complacency about the dangers.

Fascism, Trotsky wrote, meant the direct dominance of every aspect of society by ruthless finance capital, which “gathers into its hands, as in a vise of steel, directly and immediately, all the organs and institutions of sovereignty, the executive, administrative and educational powers of the state: the entire state apparatus together with the army, the municipalities, the universities, the schools, the press, the trade unions, and the co-operatives.” And, one might add, the medical profession and hospitals.

When a state becomes fascist, Trotsky explained, it signifies first of all that the workers’ organizations are annihilated, the working class is reduced to an amorphous state, and “a system of administration is created which penetrates deeply into the masses.”

Charité at War is not written and directed according to a revolutionary outlook, but its honesty is an antidote to complacency.

Many far-right police officers in the USA


This 2 September 2016 video about the USA says about itself:

This Philadelphia cop was seen sporting a racist Nazi tattoo on his arm at a Black Lives Matter movement rally. Ousted as a white supremacist, he is also a listed member of an international network of neo-Nazi organizations.

By Jacob Crosse in the USA:

Social media investigations unearth hundreds of police officers in the US involved in fascist or racist groups

29 June 2019

Two separate social media investigations completed within the last month have identified hundreds of police and correctional officers that were or are currently members of right-wing extremist groups on Facebook or who have posted violent, racist or fascistic content on the platform. Screenshots compiled in both investigations show officers posting original racist and fascist content on their personal Facebook walls, in private groups such as the Oath Keepers, Confederate Brotherhood or the “NORTH AMERICAN DEFENCE LEAGUE AGAINST ISLAM”, and also on public news posts.

Each research project positively identified active-duty officers in departments throughout the country, leading to over 50 separate investigations. In St. Louis, Missouri, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, over 100 officers have been either put on paid leave, suspended, or relegated to desk duty, pending internal investigations. However, many more departments have chosen to simply ignore the findings.

The Plain View Project (PVP) was the culmination of a nearly two year investigation beginning in the fall of 2017, and conducted by Philadelphia based attorneys. During the summer of 2016 the group of attorneys, led by lawyer Emily Baker-White, became aware of dozens of Facebook posts of current Philadelphia police officers that had endorsed violence, racism and bigotry. The PVP obtained the published rosters of police officers employed by eight departments in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Dallas and Denison, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; York, Pennsylvania; and finally, Twin Falls, Idaho.

Using the lists, the PVP team searched Facebook for the officers’ names and when they could positively link an active account to a police officer the name was added to the PVP database. In many cases officers posted pictures of themselves in uniform, discussing arrests or performing other police related duties. Through this process the PVP verified over 3,500 Facebook accounts and compiled more than 5,000 screenshots with images, posts or comments made by officers that “could undermine public trust and confidence in the police.” Through the PVP website, users are able to search by name, rank, jurisdiction, pay-grade, badge number or specific keywords.

A second research project, conducted by Reveal journalists Will Careless and Michael Corey, sought to discover how many police officers nationwide were members of right-wing “extremist” Facebook groups. Using a list of more than 1,200 extremist groups compiled by Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University, the journalists downloaded the private membership lists of the groups before Facebook disabled this feature in 2018. They then proceeded to download the membership lists of self-identified police groups and loaded the approximately one million names into a database which cross-examined the lists to see which profiles appeared in at least one extremist group and one police group.

This resulted in over 14,000 matches or “hits”. The journalists did not comb through every single match, instead just focusing on “a fraction of the list to vet.” Similar to the PVP, law enforcement officers’ identity and employment was verified by reviewing their biographies, photos or matching names to public police records. The journalists identified nearly 400 users they confirmed are either currently employed as police officers, sheriffs or correctional officers or had previously worked in law enforcement.

The totality of each investigation confirms the vast promotion and acceptance of fascistic ideology within police departments throughout the country.

The officers identified have worked at all levels of law enforcement, from patrolmen to detectives and even several captains. It is not a localized phenomenon, the cops identified work in rural jurisdictions from West Virginia to Washington and in urban cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago. Officers in the Reveal investigation were part of several right-wing anti-government militia groups, including over 150 officers who were or are currently members of the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters. Earlier this week members of the Oath Keepers, in conjunction with the Oregon Republican party, forced the state legislature to shut down following violent threats.

These two groups have been seen at several rallies organized by white supremacist groups, including the 2017 Unite the Right fascist rampage in which 32-year-old Heather Heyer was murdered by neo-Nazi James Fields. Fields, who also injured 35 others when he rammed his vehicle into the crowd of counter-protesters, was sentenced to life in prison on federal hate crime charges on Friday. Fields had pleaded guilty earlier this year to 29 federal hate crime charges to avoid the death penalty. In December 2018, Fields was also convicted on state charges, including first-degree murder, for which a jury recommended that he spend life plus 419 years in state prison.

In addition to anti-government right-wing militias, hundreds of officers belonged to openly Islamophobic groups or frequently posted content denigrating Muslims in general. Several officers were former veterans, who brought their experiences, tactics and state-sanctioned racism to their departments. Others, such as Sgt. Michael Vincent of the Philadelphia Police Dept., badge number 8706, shared memes comparing the refugee crisis caused by imperialist wars and interventions to a fox raiding a chicken coop, extolling his friends and followers to “Stop the invasion of Islam to the free world!”

While both investigations focused primarily on police officers, prison guards and corrections officers were also identified. Geoffrey Crosby, a prison guard at the barbaric Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, belongs to 56 different extremist groups, 45 of which are Confederate in nature, such as “Confederate Resistance: , or “REBELS RULES, the south will rise again .!!” Crosby also claimed membership in anti-Muslim groups such as “Stop Radical Islam in America”. Crosby, who was reached by phone by Reveal, declined to be interviewed but instead advised reporters not to “call me at work again”. The Louisiana Department of Corrections emailed the independent investigative news outlet to state an investigation into Crosby is open and ongoing.

Sheldon Best, a Wisconsin corrections officer at Jackson Correctional Institution in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, is still a member of a group named “Crusades Against Degeneracy”, which frequently posts racist, Islamophobic, homophobic and anti-Semitic content. In an interview with Reveal, Best admitted that “some people” could view his membership in the hate group as problematic; however, he stated that he did not hold any prejudiced views. On a 2017 National Public Radio article posted in the group regarding demographic changes within US census results, Best opined that whites will remain the majority of adults in the United States due to “minority on minority homicide”. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections has not responded to Reveal’s inquiries regarding any pending investigation into Best.

Another group which claimed membership from police officers around the country, including officer John Valdez of the Los Angeles Police Department, is the anti-communist “Anti-SJW Pinochet’s Helicopter Pilot Academy.” Members of the group shared helicopter memes depicting the extrajudicial murder of 75 people during the 1973 US backed coup in a positive light and frequently posted violent threats against Democrats, socialists and communists.

The whipping up and promotion of these attitudes within the state police is a stark warning to the working class. The far-right militia movements have been actively infiltrating police departments and prison guard units, and have been allowed to fester and recruit whether the local leadership is white, black, gay or straight, in the Democratic coastal states and the Republican interior. Both parties in the ruling class have overseen the mammoth expansion of repressive federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CPB) while also allowing the transfer of military equipment to departments around the country, which have been used against all members of the working class regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.

Baker-White has said she began PVP with the aim of spurring nationwide reforms in policing. “I hope that police departments make changes to increase accountability, but also to try to shift culture,” she told the Washington Post .

Her call for reforms is misguided at best. The reactionary role of the police stems not from the personal political opinions or racism of individual cops, but the other way around. Their backwardness is the product of their function as defenders of the capitalist status quo of exploitation and record social inequality.

The police are recruited and trained for this purpose. In many cases their experience in the military, and in the Middle East in particular, has encouraged the views they post on Facebook. The adult lives of the current generation of police have been spent while the US has been engaged in a continuous war from the first Persian Gulf War, through to the current preparations for war against Iran, Russia and China.

Undoubtedly the incessant tweets of the fascistic President Donald Trump have also produced a climate in which many of the cops see no particular reason why they should not express themselves in language not that different from that used by the White House.

Far more than Trump is behind this, however. The Democrats’ alternative is calls for the censorship of the internet, targeting left-wing and socialist websites under the guise of combating “Russian meddling”. In response to the unmistakable signs of growing class struggle—strikes involving teachers, auto workers, flight attendants and many others—the ruling class is turning more and more to authoritarian forms of rule, including the unleashing of the police, armed with the weapons of war, against the working class.

This is an international process, as shown by Germany, where the ruling coalition has adopted much of the agenda of the ultra-right Alternative for Germany (AfD); in France, where President Macron has praised the World War II-era Nazi collaborator Philippe Pétain while unleashing the police against “yellow vest” protesters; and in the emergence of neo-fascist and dictatorial regimes on every continent.

German neo-nazi terror network and Lübcke murder


This 28 June 2019 video says about itself:

Two more suspects were arrested in a case linked to the murder of German politician Walter Luebcke on Thursday.

Elmar J. and Markus [M.], aged 64 and 43 respectively, were detained on suspicion of being accessories to murder. … Investigators believe the two suspects knew of Ernst’s ties to right-wing extremism.

Luebcke was found dead on the terrace of his family home in Wolfhagen near Kassel on June 2.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

Lübcke’s murderer was part of vast underground German neo-Nazi terrorist network

28 June 2019

Stephan Ernst, the assassin of CDU politician Walter Lübcke, acted as part of a neo-Nazi network with close ties to the right-wing terrorist National Socialist Underground. Despite efforts in the aftermath of the assassination to promote a lone gunman explanation, information that links Ernst to a vast right-wing terrorist network is emerging.

After Ernst admitted his guilt on Tuesday, the police carried out raids on Wednesday night and early Thursday, and arrested two additional suspects. They allegedly secured and sold weapons to Ernst. The assassin also allegedly sold weapons to two other as yet unidentified men, who are the subjects of ongoing investigations, according to the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office.

According to media reports, Ernst admitted that he hoarded weapons, which, in addition to the murder weapon, included a pump-action shotgun, an Uzi submachine gun, and ammunition. He explained how he obtained the weapons and where they were concealed. Investigators found the vast majority of the weapons in an underground depot on the grounds of his employer. There were five weapons in total. According to Ernst, he purchased part of the arsenal in 2014, and bought the murder weapon in 2016.

One of Ernst’s alleged arrested accomplices is the Kassel-based neo-Nazi Markus H. According to ARD [TV]’s political magazine Panorama, H. was questioned as a witness in 2006 following the ninth racist murder committed by the NSU in an internet cafe in the Nord Holland area of the city, which claimed the life of Halit Yozgat. Like Ernst, H. was a member of the violent neo-Nazi milieu in Kassel at the time of the murder, and allegedly also knew the victim.

According to Panorama, Ernst and H. were members of the Free Resistance Kassel (FWK) group for several years, during which time they discussed how to procure weapons and explosives. The political magazine reported that Ernst allegedly remained part of the FWK until 2011, and remained in contact with members of the neo-Nazi scene until recently. Asked if Ernst had broken with the neo-Nazi milieu over recent years, the Kassel neo-Nazi Mike Zavallich told Panorama that people don’t leave so quickly, they take a step back, but still have the same outlook as they always did.

Zavallich, who declared his solidarity with Ernst shortly after his arrest and described him as a “good comrade” on Facebook, was among the closest associates of the NSU. According to a report from Die Welt, Zavallich immediately came to the attention of the Federal Criminal Police after the NSU was exposed in November 2011. At the time, investigators had presented a list of 129 people associated with the NSU. Four people from Kassel are among those mentioned on the so-called “129 list”. One of them was Mike Zavallich.” He was aware of the existence of the Thuringia Home Guard, an organisation that served as a precursor to the NSU.

Further associates of Ernst with close connections to the NSU are Stanley R. and Bernd T., leading members of the right-wing extremist terrorist organisation Combat 18. There is much to suggest that Ernst had direct contact through these sources to the NSU members Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos, and Beate Zschäpe. In an article in the Hessisch-Niedersächsisch Allgemeine newspaper, the landlady at Ernst’s regular pub, “Stadt Stockholm in Kassel”, stated that in April 2006, around the time of Yozgat’s murder, Bernd T. turned up at the pub with Zschäpe.

According to the Bild newspaper, there was at least one other occasion when Ernst could have had direct contact with the NSU: at the celebrations for the 30th birthday of Stanley R. in the clubhouse of the “Bandidos”

motorcycle gang

club. The guests included Böhnhardt, Mundlos, and probably Beate Zschäpe. The meeting occurred just a few days before Yozgat’s murder on April 6. But a video clip has mysteriously disappeared from the investigation files, prompting Bild to ask the question, “Was Stephan Ernst shown in it?”

The state and security services, which have close ties to the right-wing extremist terrorist networks, are doing everything they can to block a full investigation of the murder. The archives of the Hesse state intelligence service on the NSU will remain sealed until 2044. This was revealed by Hesse’s Interior Minister, Peter Boyth (CDU), during an emergency sitting of the state parliament on Wednesday. The file on Ernst also remains under lock and key.

Already in the five-year trial against the National Socialist Underground, a neo-Nazi terrorist group responsible for 10 murders, two bomb blasts, and a series of bank robberies, the federal public prosecutor did everything possible to avoid examining the role of the security agencies. This approach is now being continued. In his press statement on Thursday, the office’s spokesman, Markus Schmidt, claimed that there was “no evidence to suggest that the three detainees were members of a right-wing terrorist group or had established one.”

Even though the security authorities are doing everything to torpedo the investigation, a clear picture is already emerging based on the facts now known. Ernst was not merely operating as a close associate of the NSU, but the murder of Lübcke could be a continuation of the NSU’s murder series, which claimed the lives of nine immigrants and a police officer between 2000 and 2007.

There is strong evidence that Lübcke was shot due to his pro-refugee stance. In 2015, he opposed right-wingers at a public meeting on the question of providing accommodation for refugees, for which he was responsible as district president. This triggered an online hate campaign that included death threats, which was revived at the beginning of this year, including by the CDU

formerly CDU, now an AfD supporter

politician and former president of the right-wing Federation of Expellees, Erica Steinbach.

Ms Steinbach was born in World War II as the daughter of a nazi army occupation officer in a part of occupied Poland which the Third Reich called Reichsgau Danzig-Westpreusen. When Hitler lost World War II, Steinbach’s family returned to Germany.

Many people don’t see Ms Steinbach as a bona fide refugee. The leaders of her Federation of Expellees (German: BHE) are called mockingly Berufsflüchtlinge (professional refugees) in Germany, as governments paid much taxpayers’ money to them. The BHE made anti-Polish and anti-Czech revanchist propaganda, saying the eastern border of Germany along the Oder and Neisse rivers should move further east.

As Ms Steinbach sees herself as a refugee, one might in theory expect her to support welcoming refugees from NATO countries’ wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc. However, Ms Steinbach is virulently against letting those refugees into Germany. Which caused her to break from the CDU.

According to the Federal Public Prosecutor, Ernst declared in his testimony to the police that his murder of Lübcke was a response to Lübcke’s statements about refugees. He was also allegedly present at the public meeting four years ago.

However, additional motives cannot be excluded. According to a Tagesspiegel report, Lübcke was on the NSU’s radar. The terrorist group included his name in a list of 10,000 names and objects. The Tagesspiegel learned from security sources that Lübcke was listed “in the latter part of the list around the 8,000s.” The newspaper remarked how astonishing it was that his name was on the list at such an early stage. Lübcke only became a target of right-wing extremists in 2015, four years after the end of the NSU’s murder series.

Lübcke perhaps knew too much, or had become an obstacle to the right-wing extremist cliques, which reach into the Kassel district presidium itself. One of the workers under Lübcke was Andreas Temme, an agent of the Hesse Verfassungsschutz (Ministry for the Defense of the Constitution), who was nicknamed “Little Adolf”. He was also at the cafe when Yozgat was murdered. However, Temme claimed not to have witnessed anything, a claim which numerous experts consider to be highly improbable.

Due to several interventions by the security agencies and political figures, Temme’s role is yet to be fully explained. Although Temme testified at the NSU trial held in Munich and to the parliamentary investigatory commissions, former Hesse Interior Minister and current Minister President Volker Bouffier, a personal friend of Lübcke, refused to give Temme unrestricted authorization to testify.

Lübcke’s alleged murderer, Stephan Ernst, was at least indirectly connected to Temme. He knew the neo-Nazi and intelligence agency informant Benjamin Gärtner, codename Vegetable, who spoke to Temme by telephone shortly prior to Yozgat’s murder. During testimony to the NSU investigatory commission in the Hesse state parliament in February 2016, Gärtner confirmed that he knew Ernst as “NPD Stephan.”

Gärtner confirmed a few days ago to a reporter from Spiegel TV that he knew Ernst. But he could not say anything further. He said that he was “given a muzzle at the time” and doesn’t know “what will happen to me if I let the muzzle fall.” No idea how much longer I’d be sitting here at home.” Spiegel TV asked him who he was afraid of. “The government”. he answered.

German far-right group ‘used police data to compile death list’. Activists linked to military and police suspected of preparing terror attack, reports say: here.

Germany: Following the murder of politician Walter Lübcke—the call for a strong state: here.

More than five weeks have passed since Kassel District President Walter Lübcke (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) was murdered on the terrace of his house with a targeted shot to the head by a neo-Nazi. Since then, every effort has been made to cover up the close involvement of the alleged perpetrator with a far-right terrorist network that reaches deep into the secret services and the state apparatus: here.