Thursday, 18 October 2007

Nazism: Saul Friedländer describes the ostracisation of Max Liebermann

“Max Liebermann, at eighty-six possibly the best-known German painter of the time, was too old to emigrate when Hitler came to power. Formerly president of the Prussian Academy of Arts, and in 1933 its honorary president, he held the highest German decoration, the Pour le Mérite. On May 7 Liebermann resigned from the academy. As the painter Oskar Kokoschka wrote from Paris in a published letter to the editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung, none of Liebermann’s colleagues deemed it necessary to express a word of recognition or sympathy. Isolated and ostracised, Liebermann died in 1935; only three “Aryan” artits attended his funeral. His widow survived him. When, in March 1943, the police arrived, with a stretcher, for the bedridden eighty-five-year-old woman to begin her depotation to the East, she committed suicide by swallowing an overdose of the barbiturate Veronal.”

In Nazi Germany & the Jews, the Years of Persecution 1933-39, by Saul Friedländer, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (1997)
Self-portrait and portrait of his wife Martha Liebermann
Saul Friedländer, professor of history at the University of California, was awarded the Peace Prize at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair. The German Book Trade association said:
"Saul Friedländer gave a voice to the grievances and cries of those human beings who were turned to dust. He gave them memory and a name. The acknowledgment of human dignity forms the basis for peace among mankind, and Saul Friedlander returned to the murdered millions the dignity of which they had been robbed."
"Friedländer is one of the last historiographers to have witnessed and experienced the Holocaust — a genocide that was announced early on, planned openly and carried out with machinelike precision. Friedlander rejects the distanced approach often associated with the writing of history: He creates a space for incomprehensibility — the only possible reaction to such an unfathomable crime."

Papageienallee (1902)

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