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Culture and art in the German Third Reich achieved an unprecedented and incomparable level of perfection. Porcelain of the Third Reich includes ceramics inspired and created by craftsmen of a standard that are unlikely to be experienced ever again.
Porcelain of the Third Reich is a world premiere edition. For the first time ever in one volume covers ceramics, figurines, SS-Rune symbolism, SS uniforms and daggers.
Included are the Wagner-like stage-like productions inspired by Benno von Arent. The mastermind behind the extravagant Swastika-adorned National Socialist public decorations, regalia and theatrical displays.
Such peaks of perfection cannot be achieved in cultures disinclined to bring out the best of human creative enterprise. Only in a cultural climate in which the state is prepared to endorse and sponsor the highest art forms can such high art forms be attained.
Germany has long been famous for its porcelain production. Meissen porcelain manufactory in Meissen (Saxony) established in 1710, was Europe’s first porcelain manufacturing company. Many other German manufacturers were established in the 18th and 19th century. Rosenthal GmbH is a German manufacturer of porcelain products and other tableware products. The original firm was founded in 1879 in Selb, Bavaria.
Porcelain of the Third Reich draws attention to the founding and output of Porzellan Manufaktur Allach, the youngest porcelain factory in Germany. Founded as a private concern in 1935, it had existed for only 10 years when, as a consequence of the American occupation of southern Germany in spring 1945, the Allach factory and its outstanding products ceased to exist. Sculptors hand-picked to work at Porzellan Manufaktur Allach already had vast experience and had previously worked at famous porcelain workshops and studios, such as Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory, Meissen, Rosenthal, Hutschenreuther and similar.
The choice of themes and forms, motives and methods of decorating everyday objects, in itself complex was intended to reflect the ideas of the unique quality of the German people, the military and civil power of the state, and its close connection with the empire of the ancient Romans.
The ideology of the Third Reich was reflected in the expanded system of symbolism. The most common of these symbols was the Swastika, an ancient solar sign. In the spiritual ideology of many ancient civilizations, the Swastika is associated with an infinity of movement and, the accumulation of potential energy in itself.
The heraldic eagle, the satellite of the supreme god of thunder Zeus / Jupiter, is an imperial symbol since antiquity. This brings us to the Cross, modified and enhanced that was universally utilised by the National Socialist ideology. The Cross is an ancient symbol of the four cardinal points, the four elements, the tree of life and all power. The wreath or oak leaves or a tree, in the understanding of the German psyche, evokes vitality and immortality.
Swords are omnipotent in their presence and are a symbol of military success. In the case of the latter were recognisable signs of different areas of human activity. These might include submarine or armed forces motifs, and the decals and designs of a city’s coat-of-arms of the city. Finally, there is often displayed and seen the head of the Greek goddess of wisdom Athena and her ideological or spiritual peers.
Among the porcelain factories of the Reich was the supremacy of Porzellan-Manufaktur Allach-München GmbH that was known to be exclusively a Schutzstaffel Protective Echelon (SS) enterprise.
The history and nature of porcelain production are best seen in the artworks themselves. The most significant of them today are very rare and usually sold through auctions. This is due, first of all, to the limited edition of elite products, with the sometimes exception of animal figurines produced for wider availability. Few survived the horrendous and relentless carpet bombings of Munich and destruction of other German cities up to May 1945.
The ‘political’ porcelain figures that survived the Allies carpet bombings were destroyed by the Allied armies immediately after the occupation of the Reich. Otherwise, much of the Reich’s artwork was plundered and some of the craftsmen were spirited to the United States where they would reveal the secrets of their craft. One artist was given the choice; be taken to the United States or the scaffold. The German craftsman chose the scaffold.
Lost were not only products themselves, but almost the entire archive of the manufacturers. Some of the company’s documents and moulds were destroyed by employees who resisted the secrets of their arts falling into the hands of the approaching Allied armed forces.
The only original list of products to survive is the catalogue of 40 products from the 1936 makers of porcelain. But it is inaccessible to researchers. This indispensable catalogue was in the personal collection of Adolf Hitler’s library, which ended up in the U.S. Library of Congress and is still specified as classified documents.
Related books: Sculptures of the Third Reich: Arno Breker and Reich Sculptors, Volume I , Sculptures of the Third Reich: Josef Thorak and Reich Sculptors, Volume II, Porcelain of the Third Reich: Supreme Ceramics and Porcelain Lost to War, The Red Brigands, Ransacking the Reich by Michael Walsh.
Categories: Book Reviews