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Germany’s Creative Spirit Ebbs As Her Genius Flies Abroad

July 29, 1934
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r. Mosse, a member of the famous Mosse and Ullstein families, was one of Germany’s best known younger dramatists and enjoyed a wide reputation in the theatre under the pen name of Peter Flamm.]

“The Judaization of Art and Press” has always been one of the most effective theses of German National Socialism. The argument is that Jewish talent, through intrigue, through artifice or through power has crowded out existing “Aryan” talents. Now that the Jewish artists, writers, journalists, actors, and musicians have been forcibly expelled from Germany, it would seem that these previously “hindered” great “Aryan” talents never existed. Theatre, cabaret, film and literature have sunk, in Germany, to the lowest level.

In all this time, not a single work, not a single voice has been heard which might even remotely be compared with the artistic level of Germany before 1933. What the German Jews actually meant to German art is only now becoming evident, now when the German public no longer reads its newspapers, and no longer visit the theatre, where the wealth of a creative spirit no longer is offered, but only a “trend” bearing the stamp of approval of the ministry for propaganda, which commanded it.


A second thesis of National Socialism is that relating to the destructive, injurious nature of the Jews. “Aryan-ry” is constructive in tendency, building of “Blood and the Soil.” Jewry, on the other hand, is destructively analytical, working only with its brain and its nerves, said the Nazi propagandist.

It might be worthwhile, perhaps, to make a special study sometime of the psychology and effectiveness of slogans. One need but reiterate the same assertion over and over again and in time it will, even though it be ever so far removed from the truth, be believed by even the most critical persons. In this case (that of the essential spiritual differences ostensibly existing between Germans and Jew) it may be said that creative effort would scarcely succeed in shaping a finished work without at least some critical-analytical filing. In the words of Hendrik Ibsen, greatest Scandinavian dramatist:

“To live means to fight the spectre of dark powers within oneself. To write: to hold judgment day over oneself.”

The nature of art was never better formulated. There can be no creation without criticism. The decline of German art proves the falseness of a theory which was nothing but an economic maneuver against the enviously fabricated “superiority of their Jewish partners.”


These Jewish artists who within the year have been torn from their German soil, went to France, to Switzerland, to Scandinavia, Holland, Czechoslovakia. Only a few went to the United States. They suffered inconceivably, both economically and spiritually. If they were writers, their works were snatched up by emigrant publishing houses in Holland. Translations of their works, which had no nationalistic limitations, had their effect upon the world, which had broken from Hitler Germany.

They struggle, but there is some hope for them. Language, their instrument, has been torn from their hands. They learn that of their new environment. And in ten years, perhaps, they will write so well in this new language, that the stamp of their style will be recognizable in it.

But the others—the actors! Of course, there are cases like that of Elizabeth Bergner, who worked night and day for a year to learn the tones, rhythms and phonetics of English, and has thus now become a most successful English actress. Or Peter Lorre, one of the most important of the younger actors, who has been given a contract in Hollywood. The Zurich theatre has taken in Gustav Hartung, Germany’s most talented director besides Max Reinhardt, and a staff of the best of German actors.


But the rest? Almost a year passed before they found themselves in groups again, groups which could not act in the theatre because there was no economic basis for that. So they decided to set up cabarets. Erika Mann (daughter of the Nobel prize winner, Thomas Mann), who is a talented and gifted actress, is heading such an ensemble at Zurich. And in Paris an establishment called “Paris-Vienna” was opened near the Place de la Concorde. There Kurt Gerron, talented and popular German actor, and Peter Bach, Germany’s most famous lute-player, fill the stage.

Unelaborated truth demands that it be said that none of these are ideal solutions, but rather the product of necessity, and will never compensate for that which has been lost in values. A world lies in ruins and will never rise again. Unless Germany awakens. But even in that event she has been having anti-Semitic dreams too long. There are dreams which do not leave one’s blood even on awakening.

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