Artists who were unable to provide “proof of Aryan descent” after 1933 were officially no longer allowed to practice their profession. This professional ban was also extended to other creative artists whose art did not conform to Nazi ideology. Modern works attributed to styles such as Expressionism, Impressionism or Dadaism did not fit into the National Socialist worldview.

In our special issue, we introduce you to artists who were persecuted by the Nazis – and talk to artist Sara Nabil about the current situation of artists in Afghanistan.

Art under Nazism

Degenerate art” – many people are familiar with the term. But what were the National Socialists trying to achieve by denigrating certain types of art, and what consequences did the Nazis’ cultural propaganda have for artists?

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Persecuted artists in Afghanistan

The Arolsen Archives are committed to diversity, respect and democracy. In this interview, director Floriane Azoulay talks to artist Sara Nabil about the current situation of artists in Afghanistan.

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Dinah Babbitt: Painting her way out of hell

The infamous SS doctor Josef Mengele discovered Dinah Babbitt’s talent as a painter while she was imprisoned in Auschwitz. He selected her to paint portraits of fellow inmates for a pseudo-scientific documentation. That enabled Dinah to survive – but the paintings haunted her forever.

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Paul Goyard

French set designer Paul Goyard was arrested for being a supporter of the Resistance and brought to Buchenwald concentration camp. He recorded his experiences there in hundreds of drawings: Rare, authentic documentation of the horror of everyday camp life.

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Karl Schwesig

The Nazis were merciless in their persecution of Karl Schwesig, an avant-garde painter and political opponent. They arrested him several times and subjected him to serious abuse. His work was confiscated and destroyed. Karl survived and continued to express his time spent in prison in his art.

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