Reichskulturkammer

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Reichsminister Goebbels has a meeting with his Staatssekretär, Walther Funk, in his office at the Ministry. In the background, Referent des Ministers Karl Hanke takes a call (1937).

The Reichskulturkammer (RKK) ("Reich Chamber of Culture") was a government agency in Nazi Germany. It was established by law on 22 September 1933 in the course of the Gleichschaltung process at the instigation of Reich Minister Joseph Goebbels as a professional organization of all German creative artists.[1] Defying the competing ambitions of the German Labour Front (DAF) under Goebbels' rival Robert Ley, it was meant to gain control over the entire cultural life in Germany creating and promoting Aryan art consistent with Nazi ideals.

Every artist had to apply for membership on presentation of an Aryan certificate. A rejected inscription de facto resulted in an occupational ban.

Structure and organisation[edit]

The RKK was affiliated with the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda with its seat on Wilhelmplatz in Berlin. Headed by Goebbels himself, a state secretary of his ministry served as vice president:

SS officer Hans Hinkel was one of the officers in charge of the chamber and Goebbels' special commissioner for the removal of Jews from German cultural life.

Different subdivisions of the RKK dealt with music, visual arts, film, architecture, and literature, organized in seven departments:

The RKK was ultimatively dissolved and its assets confiscated by Law no. 2 (October 10, 1945) of the Allied Control Council. Footage and archives material are kept by the German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv) and the Berlin Document Center.

Degenerate art[edit]

Goebbels visits the 1938 Entartete Kunst exhibition in Berlin
1935 Reichsmusikkammer decree to the Berlin musician Werner Liebenthal dictating the immediate cessation of his professional activity.

The RKK played a significant role in the Nazi oppression of Modern art, defamed as "Cultural Bolshevism". One notable project of the Bildende Künste (Fine Arts) division under Adolf Ziegler was the Entartete Kunst exhibition, of works deemed "degenerate."[2] Opened in July 1937 at the Hofgarten in Munich, touring exhibitions were held from 1938 to 1941 in several major German cities such as Berlin, Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Salzburg, and Hamburg. Attendance was measured in the millions, largely because entrance was free, and the so-called degenerate art perhaps more popular with the public than the nazis anticipated. Goebbels had supported German expressionists until Hitler intervened and expressed his disgust at artists such as Max Liebermann and Emil Nolde.

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