Ein Anderer Hitler by Hermann Giesler: Breker
A LETTER FROM ARNO BREKER
Arno Breker in front of a version of his famous relief Apollo and Daphne. The most significant neo-classic sculptor of the 20th century, Breker (1900-1991) placed the image of man in the center of his creative work. Like his patron Adolf Hitler, who named him “official state sculptor” and gave him a large property, studio and many assistants, Breker thought in historical dimensions. After the war, the Allies destroyed over 90% of his public works.
This letter appeared as an appendix in the original edition of Ein Anderer Hitler. Arno Breker was Hitler’s favorite sculptor and highly admired throughout Europe, especially in France.
Professor Arno Breker
Lieber Hermann Giesler,
Last night I finished reading the last chapter of your book; that chapter is also truly shattering. Your book brought many things to light I did not know; above all, the scope of the unbelievable treason. That up to this time one does not know who was behind it, riddles me anew.
Your writing covers by far the most essential, most true and realistic reporting that has been written about the immense tragedy of that epoch. Specifically concerning the field of architecture, one has to go far back in history to meet a similar situation. Our epoch proves anew that the powerful documents of architecture, lasting beyond all time, derive from a lonely personality coined by fate for a specific period.
I am convinced that today’s media is helpless when confronting what you’ve written. Thanks to your extensive documentation, historiography is faced with a new task. In your report, the fateful events roll on like a natural phenomenon.
Hitler is the consequence of the Versailles treaty. The whole drama fell upon an anonymous man and providence destined him to break the fateful situation. Hitler’s primitive, dazzled enemies were not aware that there stood a man who wanted to create a new epoch—also [in] architectural [terms]. That could only happen during a quiet, peaceful period. Your book clearly demonstrates it.
The prologue already makes one prick up his ear. It is a masterful work. How blindfolded the world still is today is proved by the trouble you had to go through before you found a publisher for your manuscript.
Nobly, you treated your adversaries with your critique, above all Mr. Reeps.1 Cool and collected, you can look your opponents in the eye. Max Liebermann2 would say: Mir kann keener [nobody can touch me]. Everything is said by that. Either your book launches an avalanche of comments, or it will be silenced to death. We face that alternative.
For now, my dearest regards,
— Arno Breker
1. Reeps is Speer spelled backwards. A long chapter of Giesler’s book is devoted to his differences with fellow architect Albert Speer, both during and after the Third Reich period.
2. Max Liebermann was a prominent Jewish impressionistic painter of the Weimar period who associated with anti-Nazi elements and the Stauffenberg circle. He remained unmolested up to his death in 1935.