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Gottbegnadeten list

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Friedrich Kayßler, one of the "irreplaceable actors" on the list

The Gottbegnadeten-Liste ("God-gifted list" or "Important Artist Exempt List") was a 36-page list of artists considered crucial to National Socialist culture. The list was assembled in September 1944 by Joseph Goebbels, the head of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, and Germany's supreme leader Adolf Hitler.


The list exempted the designated artists from military mobilisation during the final stages of World War II. Each listed artist received a letter from the Nazi Propaganda Ministry which certified his or her status. A total of 1,041 names of artists, architects, music conductors, singers, writers and filmmakers appeared on the list. Of that number, 24 were named as especially indispensable; they thus became the equivalent of National Socialism's "national treasures".

Goebbels included about 640 motion picture actors, writers and directors on an extended version of the list. They were to be protected as part of his propaganda film efforts, which persisted through the end of the war (and culminating in the expensive final UFA production Kolberg, released in January 1945).

Many of the cultural figures appearing on the list are no longer widely remembered but there are exceptions, including a number of renowned classical musicians such as the composers Richard Strauss, Hans Pfitzner, and Carl Orff, the orchestral conductors Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan, and the Wagnerian baritone Rudolf Bockelmann. The only foreigner (Ausländer) on the list was Dutch actor Johannes Heesters.[1]

Special listed artists[edit]


Visual artists[edit]

Sculptor Arno Breker



Actor Heinrich Schroth



Further listed artists on the "Führerliste"[edit]

There was also an extended list, the so-called "Führerliste" that included "God-gifted artists" who were not to be drafted but worked as "Künstler im Kriegseinsatz" (artists in the war effort).


Writer Hans Grimm


Conductor and composer Ottmar Gerster
Composer Carl Orff


Conductor Herbert von Karajan


Composer and pianist Walter Gieseking

Theater and opera[edit]

Actor Heinrich George

Fine Arts[edit]

Painter Ludwig Dettmann

Special film-list initiated by Goebbels[edit]

Actor Wolf Albach-Retty

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Klee, Ernst (2007). Das Kulturlexikon zum Dritten Reich: Wer war was vor und nach 1945 (in German). Frankfurt am Main: Fischer. p. 227. ISBN 978-3-10-039326-5.
  2. ^ a b Rathkolb 1991, p. 176.
  3. ^ Roncigli, Audrey (2009). Le cas Furtwängler. Paris: Imago. p. 171.
  4. ^ Rathkolb, Oliver (2021). Carl Orff und der Nationalsozialismus. Publikationen des Orff-Zentrums München, Band II/2. Mainz: Schott Music GmbH & Co. pp. 121–24. ISBN 978-3-79-572755-0.
  • Maximilian Haas: Die Gottbegnadeten-Liste (BArch R 55/20252a) in: Juri Giannini, Maximilian Haas und Erwin Strouhal (Hrsg.): Eine Institution zwischen Repräsentation und Macht. Die Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien im Kulturleben des Nationalsozialismus. Mille Tre Verlag, Vienna 2014, pp. 239–276. ISBN 978-3-900198-36-7.
  • Rathkolb, Oliver (1991). Führertreu und gottbegnadet: Künstlereliten im Dritten Reich. Vienna: ÖBV.