Has missing Hitler Reich Chancellery statue been found?

Discussion in 'The Third Reich' started by Roger Clark, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. Roger Clark

    Roger Clark Junior Member

    Has missing statue from Hitler's New Reich Chancellery been found?

    One of the most famous statues in the Third Reich seems to have reappeared after it vanished at the end of WW2. The statue, called The Army, was made by Hitler’s favourite sculptor Arno Breker. Here is a photo of it today:-

    B-001-BREKER-13044383573_121ff895dd_o (1) - Copy.jpg

    In 1938 Albert Speer commissioned Breker to make two monumental bronze statues for Hitler’s New Reich Chancellery which Speer was building in Berlin. The statues - one holding a flaming torch, the other a sword - flanked the grand entrance in the Court of Honour. You can see them in this photo:-


    Here is a close-up of The Army, which stood on the right-hand side of the entrance. This statue has now gone on public display:-


    And a closer overall view of the entrance to this giant building:-


    Initially the statues were named the Torch Bearer and Sword Bearer. Later they were renamed The Party and The Army ‘identifying them,’ says Jennifer Mundy of the Tate in London - ‘with these two cornerstones of the Third Reich’s spirit and power.’ Here’s another picture of
    The Army from another angle when it adorned the New Reich Chancellery entrance:-


    A general view of the Court of Honour showing both statues with the guard of honour drilling in the field grey uniforms:-


    ‘The works,’ says Jennifer Mundy, ‘cemented Breker’s position as the Nazis’ artist of choice. In the late 1930s and during the Second World War he became rich and his sculptures were promoted across the Reich – and beyond – as the embodiment of National Socialist cultural policy.’ The sculptures even featured on a German stamp during the war:-


    So where is The Army statue now? … You can find it on show less than a mile away from where it once stood in the New Reich Chancellery. Breker’s statue is on display in the foyer of the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin at the top of Unter den Linden, adjacent to Museum Island. And pictures of it are cropping up all over the Internet:-

    B-008-BREKER-5Y6IX9q924g_zps2a51dc7d-MULTIPLE - Copy.jpg

    Jennifer Mundy, who is Head of the Collection Research at the Tate, posted her comments on the Tate website in September 2012. It was one of a series of articles on lost works of art. There was, she wrote ‘the possibility that, in the confused aftermath of war, occupying Soviet troops took The Party and The Army from the Reich Chancellery either to be melted down or as plunder. Photographs of the war-damaged Chancellery buildings taken by Allied troops show that the sculptures had been moved from the courtyard before the demolition of the Chancellery began, leaving open the remote possibility that, if they have been hidden for political reasons, they may yet be found.’

    Well now it seems at least one of them has. Or has it? Is this statue a copy? I emailed Jennifer Mundy and asked for the latest news, but received no reply. The same thing happened when I emailed the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, the Museum Arno Breker in Nörvenich Castle (between Aachen and Cologne) and a prominent American professor who has written about Nazi art and Arno Breker. No replies.

    Why such reticence? Admittedly, Breker is still radio active - loathed by many because of his close association with the Nazis. You can see how close when you study one of the most famous wartime pictures taken of Hitler at the height of his power. It’s that iconic photo taken by Heinrich Hoffman showing Hitler flanked by Albert Speer on the left and Arno Breker on the right when the tyrant visited Paris for a few hours in the summer of 1940:-


    Breker knew Paris well having worked as an artist there in the 1920s. And Speer designed the German Pavilion for the 1937 international exposition in Paris. They were filmed with Hitler by Walter Frentz who you can see at work in this next photo:-


    But I come back to The Army statue. Is this the actual statue that stood in the New Reich Chancellery, or a copy? If it’s genuine where has it been all these years? There was no fanfare when it went on display at the Deutsches Historisches Museum. The press have ignored it. Yet there it is openly displayed in the foyer of a museum in the centre of Berlin - one of the most important Nazi works of art.

    And what about its companion statue - The Party? Does that still exist? Is that hidden away somewhere? Here’s a reminder what that looked like:-


    So will someone please clear up these mysteries. Both sculptures have featured in the Tate’s Gallery of Lost Art which is described as ‘an immersive, online exhibition that told the stories of artworks that had disappeared. Destroyed, stolen, discarded, rejected, erased, ephemeral – some of the most significant artworks of the last 100 years have been lost and can no longer be seen.’ And they’re featured in the book Lost art : missing artworks of the twentieth century produced by Tate Publishing.

    Like him or loathe him Arno Breker was a major 20th-century artist. He’s an important historical figure. His statues are symbols of their time. There’s no need for secrecy all these year as later.
    Fred Wilson likes this.
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    An interesting post that got me thinking about the Bronze Statues around the Olypic Park area, but following a Little Research they were mainly down to another well known German Artist Josef Wackerle.

    I must try and visit the Museum, but having visited many, I still have a lot to go at.

  3. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Roger...the detail on the sword hilt is different!!!
  4. Roger Clark

    Roger Clark Junior Member

    Hi Smudger ... I've checked carefully and I think the original Arno Breker's statues in the Olympic park are still there. It's true the Allies destroyed much of his work at the end of the war. But many of his major works still exist in his museum - a surprising number. Breker sometimes had duplicates made, so they're still legitimately his original works.

    Hi Phylo ... about the detail on the sword being different. You could be right, but I've made another check and to be honest I think they look similar. But I may be wrong! After all I've posed the question is this the actual statue that was in the New Reich Chancellery? Perhaps Breker had a dupe made that was slightly different ... or perhaps it's been damaged ... or perhaps it's a modern reproduction - though that seems unlikely.

    Until someone - preferably the museum - can tell us - exactly what we're looking at speculation will continue! Surely there must be a label in the museum telling visitors what it is. After all the museum is hardly ashamed of this exhibit. They've got this huge statue standing in their foyer to greet visitors. No-one can miss it!

    And where is the other one?

    By the way Phylo I see your mailbox is not accepting any messages. So have you heard the news - the producer of the GREY WOLF movie, Magnus Peterson, has been jailed for 13 years for fraud. I've published a brief report on page 11 of the "Hitler Escaped" forum. I wonder if a certain source who knows a lot about this subject knows? And whether they have anything new to add?
  5. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Ooooh my mailbox is full!

    Anyway - I wonder if that's why he took off to france...?

    The devil is, as usual, in the detail ;) Look at the "quillons" - specifically the "Chappe" or rain-guard...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossguard

    Here's the "new" statue...


    The rain-guard is "pointy", it has a defined ponit pointing "up" the blade...

    Here's the original statue...


    The rain-guard is a straight bar with no pointy bit at all.
  6. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    The...pecs?...under the armpit are a lot more defined...and the nipples are different LOL The whole statue looks a lot more...."crisper"?... than the original.
  7. Roger Clark

    Roger Clark Junior Member

    HI Phylo... I think the photos are taken at slightly different angles which could account for the discrepancy. But, as I said, I could be wrong! Perhaps someone in Berlin - or who's going to Berlin - could visit the Deutsches Historisches Museum and solve the problem. The questions we need answering are these:-

    1) Is this the genuine Arno Breker statue that stood in the Court of Honour in Hitler's New Reich Chancellery?

    2) If it is genuine where and why has it been hidden all these years?

    3) Is it a dupe made in the 1930s, or a modern reproduction made from original moulds, maquettes, or computer generated?

    4) Does the companion statue called The Party still exist? If it does where is it?

    If the The Army statue has an explanatory label perhaps someone could photograph it and send it to us so we can see the actual evidence. At the moment it's difficult to be certain, but I'm sure the truth is in there - i.e. the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin!
  8. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    I've blown them up a bit more to the point where I'll start loosing detail if I go any further...


    You can see the "point" on the rainguard even better now.
  9. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Attached Files:

    von Poop likes this.
  10. Roger Clark

    Roger Clark Junior Member

    Hi Phylo and Mr Jinks (or Kyle!)... Yes, the link proves this is a replica ... Unfortunately the Google translation is so bad it's difficult to understand quite what they are saying ... apart from the fact that the statue in the museum is a replica and Breker's two statues The Army and The Party may still exist and be in the Soviet Union. Here are some extracts from the article Mr Jinks referred to. Am I right in thinking the damaged original of The Army turned up in Breker's lifetime? And it's hidden away in 'secret private sources'?

    'Both works are still gone and probably ended up as State looted art in the Soviet Union ... The damaged original had appeared during his lifetime by Arno Breker 1989/1990 from that time also kept secret private sources ... Even at that time was the bronze legally as a state property of the Federal Republic of Germany, the legal successor of the previous state ... the detail view shows the replica with a new patina.'

    I'm still puzzled. Did Breker see the damaged original hidden away in private? How was the replica made? Was it made with the help of Breker himself? If so, how did he go about it? If it was made by Breker it would be a legitimate work of art in its own right by the sculptor. But a copy produced from casts taken from the damaged original, which was repaired, would still be valuable even produced by other people. Sculpture is easier to replicate than a painting.

    Trying to get any sense out of the Russian is likely to prove difficult, but I suppose we could ask. Surely they would regard a statue like this as a trophy and want to put on public display? But with the Russians you never know!
  11. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Roger, I came across a discussion thread in passing last night where an unattributed source claimed to have seen both of them in the 1980s....laying on the floor of a warehouse in Berlin! Pics wre not IIRC available. So they may not be that far away after all.

    That quote n their legal status is a bit iffy; the Federal Republic of Germany is not the direct successor state to the German republic that was the Third Reich...as in May 1945 the Allies formally dissolved that state as a nation for/some years. Private property and the continuation of ownership rights is one thing....but there was legally no continuation state, and certainly no state rights for that period, all rights accrued to the Occupying Powers under the Berlin declaration of 1945.
  12. Roger Clark

    Roger Clark Junior Member

    Hmmm ... Interesting! ... So the mystery of their fate still remains. Perhaps someone out there can supply more info. Anyone in Berlin know more about them? Let's hope they turn up if they exist.

    As I indicated earlier I'm still interested in the dupe in the Deutsches Historisches Museum. Why and how was it made? And was Breker involved?

    Let's hope this discussion stimulates further inquiries.
  13. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

  14. Roger Clark

    Roger Clark Junior Member

    TriciaF ... Thanks for the link ... I suppose the obvious place to ask is the Museum Arno Breker in Nörvenich Castle (between Aachen and Cologne). Surely someone in the museum must know. But they never seem to answer emails! I've tried to contact them before without success. Perhaps someone could visit the museum, which is open to visitors, and see if anyone is prepared to talk.
  15. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Museums are getting particularly bad for that, Roger. I've even had Bovington ignoring emails recently...
  16. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    It seems a strange contradiction - on the one hand homosexuals were sent to the camps, and on the other those statues, which look homoerotic to me, were admired and included in the new arts scene of the 3rd Reich.

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