In the medieval German town of Eisenach, passersby, civilians, artist painting quaint scene outdoors. EXTs Wartburg fortress walls. LS, hillside. 00:13:52 Industrial exhibition in Dusseldorf, high angle views. Visitors at displays, including farm equipment: "Stahl-Kombinus" and "Leichte Maschinen". Fountain inside exhibition, crowds. 00:15:25 Very crowded city square in Weimar in summer. Throngs of people, many seated at tables outdoors, men in uniform, women in summer dresses. Large group dancing, ballroom style (motion is slowed down in film). Banners with swastikas surround the square. 00:16:51 In Essen, brief scenes of farming, construction, drills, railroad. 00:18:33 Night scene of formations on Olympic Stadium field in Berlin. Formations lit and in movement on darkened field. 00:20:11 Near Berlin, farming scenes, woman raking hay, hay wagon pulled by cattle, small hay wagon pulled by dog. 00:21:47 Views of Rhine River and Cologne, cathedral in BG, kayakers in FG. Various shots of kayakers. 00:23:17 In Essen, city street scene with posters of "Gross-Flugtag: Essen-Muelheim Flughafen" showing planes with swastikas on tail. Shop window with large sign displayed for advance ticket sales: "N S Gemeinschaft. Kraft durch Freude" [Nazi organization "Strength Through Joy" which sponsored cruises and many kinds of vacations for workers.] Poster advertising a visiting theatrical group: "Svensk Trolltheater / Schwedische Maerchentanzgruppe." Man and boy looking at signs: travel office, Bad Oeynhausen, more posters for the big airshow: "Flug Essen, Stadt Essen". Flower stall in street, tram in BG. 00:24:48 Farmer sowing seed in Fulda, Germany.
00:25:43 Wide view of the new House of German Art, a museum dedicated to Nazi-approved artwork, with long, white columns. 00:26:03 Across the street, INTs of the 1937 exhibition of Entartete Kunst ["Degenerate Art"] on the second floor of the Institute of Archaeology. Room 1 with "Kruzifixus" [Crucified Christ] sculpture by Ludwig Gies (1921), formerly in Luebeck cathedral. 00:26:66 Room 3 with "Maedchen mit blauem Haar" [Girl with Blue Hair] by Eugen Hoffmann. Wall text refers to a Kandinsky piece "Zweierlei Rot" (1928) purchased for the National Gallery in Berlin for 2,000 marks as "paid by taxes from the working German people." 00:26:39 Wide view of the crowds in Room 3, including the mocking inscription by Georg Grosz, "Nehmen Sie Dada ernst! Es lohnt sich." [Take Dada seriously! It's worth it.] Male docent showing visitors Room 3 with "Springendes Pferd" [Jumping Horse] by expressionist Heinrich Campendonk from the National Gallery and the small painting "Um den Fisch" [Around the Fish] by Paul Klee. 00:27:13 Visitors moving through Room 3, looking at sculptures beneath an inscription in wavy lines, "We act as if we were painters, poets, or whatever, but we...are just putting one giant swindle over on the world...." 00:27:24 Exhibit lobby with large head sculpture "Der neue Mensch" [The New Man] by Otto Freundlich (1912), which was used for the cover of the exhibition guide. 00:27:37 EXTs, people coming out of the building, car and bicycle pass by on the street. Large sign over exhibition entrance: "Ausstellung 'Entartete Kunst' Eintritt frei." [Exhibition 'Degenerate Art' Free entrance.] INT, Room 4 with "Der Strand" [The Beach] by Max Beckmann. 00:28:00 Profile view of two women looking at paintings by Ernst Kirchner and Oskar Kokoschka in Room 4 with "Sitzender Mann" [Sitting Man] by Erich Heckel of the artists' group "Die Bruecke" [The Bridge] and "Die Mulattin" [The Mulatto Woman] by Emil Nolde behind them. Men view works in Room 4 and move through exhibit. 00:28:33 Room 5 with "Bahnhof in Koenigstein" [Koenigstein station] by Ernst Kirchner, "Blumen und Tieren" [Flowers and Animals] by Heinrich Campendonk (1926), "Handstand" by Willi Baumeister, "Im Kanu" [In the Canoe] by Jean Metzinger, "Komposition" [Composition] by Piet Mondrian (1929), "Stilleben" [Still Life] by Karl Schmitt-Rottluff (1932). 00:29:07 The inscription over the doorway from Room 6 to Room 7, "Sie hatten vier Jahre Zeit." [They had four years' time.] In Room 1, "Christus und die Suenderin" [Christ and the Sinner] by Emil Nolde (1929). Visitors before the Dada wall in Room 3, pan to right.
Library of Congress film-to-video transfer is wrong speed, perhaps 18 fps. Action is too slow on Tape 951 and 952.
Julien Bryan filmed in Germany in September 1937 for The March of Time production, "Inside Nazi Germany."
The catalogue from the recent Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibit on "Degenerate Art" identifies the artists and Room 3 of the Munich exhibit which had written on the wall "Nehmen Sie Dada ernst. Es lohnt sich." See departmental subject files for more information.
Additional photographs are available in the USHMM Photo Archives.
Biography / History:
The popular "Degenerate Art" exhibition ran in Munich from July 19, 1937 to November 30, 1937 and subsequently traveled to several other cities. This exhibition featured over 650 paintings, sculptures, prints, and books which had been confiscated from German public museums. The pieces were chaotically hung with accompanying criticism and deriding text, in order to clarify to the German people what type of art was considered unacceptable. Afterwards, many works were sorted out for sale and sold at auction. Some were acquired by museums, and others by private collectors. Certain pieces were appropriated by Nazi officials and some were burned. Josef Goebbels ordered a more thorough scouring of German art collections after the exhibition, bringing the total number of modern works seized by the Nazis to over 16,000.
Julien Hequembourg Bryan (1899-1974) was an American documentarian and filmmaker. In the 1930s, he conducted extensive lecture tours, during which he showed film footage he shot in the former USSR. Between 1935 and 1938, he captured unique records of ordinary people and life in Nazi Germany and in Poland. He was in Warsaw within days of Germany's invasion of Poland in September 1939 and remained throughout the German siege of the city, filming and photographing what would become America's first cinematic glimpse of the start of WWII.
1995.150.1 Julien Bryan donated part of his collection of 35mm nitrate film relating to his expeditions during the period of 1930-1950 to the Library of Congress on December 23, 1966. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum purchased some reels from the collection at the Library of Congress in January 1995.
ART (DEGENERATE / "ENTARTETE KUNST")
USHMM (PERMANENT EXHIBITION)
Library of Congress, 4700 / FEB 7109
35mm, b/w, silent
ProRes 422 HQ; Betacam SP; MP4; VHS
00:12:20:28 - 00:29:42:23