Thursday, December 6


Haus der deutschen kunst' or 'House of German Art' and where I am today, was constructed from 1934 to 1937 following plans of architect Paul Ludwig Troost as the Third Reich's first monumental propaganda building (Troost was also a furniture designer). The museum was opened in March 1937 as a showcase for what the Third Reich regarded as Germany's finest art. The inaugural exhibition was the Grosse deutsche Kunstausstellung ("Great German art exhibition"), which was intended as an edifying contrast to the condemned modern art on display in the concurrent Entartete Kunst exhibition, which was eventually sold in foreign countries or burned. Hitler inaugurated the building and later used the main hall for speeches and radio addresses.

After the end of WWII, the museum building was first used by the American occupation forces as an officer's mess; in that time, the building came to be known as the "P1", a shortening of its street address. I see the building's swastika-motif mosaics in the ceiling panels of its front portico - when I ask a cab driver why Germany did not destroy Kunst, he shrugs and says "it would not be efficient."