This year, 2013, the state of Berlin has joined forces with a number of project partners in holding a year of events to commemorate both the 80th anniversary of the transfer of power to the National Socialists in January 1933 and the 75th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms of 1938.
The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin is using the occasion to examine its own history in the years 1933 to 1945 in unprecedented probing detail.
January 30, 1933 brought sweeping changes that also affected the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and which were not merely restricted to the 'Degenerate Art' campaign and the subsequent destruction and collection losses of the Second World War. The history of the institution in the Third Reich was also shaped by race laws barring employees of Jewish descent from working in the civil service, the call-up of many colleagues into war service, the public image of the Staatliche Museen in publications, the revision of permanent collection displays, politically manipulative temporary exhibitions held either during wartime to aid the war effort or during the XI Olympic Games in 1936.
In a statement, Michael Eissenhauer, Director-General of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, said:
'This publication was prepared in the Zentralarchiv at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. The authors are predominately colleagues on our staff. It was important for us to make our own exhaustive study of our history. This publication is a milestone - not only for the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, but also for the German museum landscape as a whole.'
Edited by Jörn Grabowski and Petra Winter, the publication is released by Böhlau. It is available via bookstores or our online shop, priced €49.90.