Germany Building Memorial To Hitler’s Euthanasia Victims

Germany
Wikimedia Commons

The government of Germany has begun construction of a monument to remember the physically and mentally handicapped people killed by the Nazis.

While everyone knows about the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust, Hitler’s other victims are often forgotten. They include socialists, Communists, blacks, homosexuals, Gypsies and anyone else who didn’t fit the vision of a pure Aryan society.

Hitler started a program, known as Action T4, to eliminate the mentally and physically disabled in 1939. Surviving documents show at least 70,000 people were killed, but historians estimate the number may actually be as many as 200,000.

The BBC reports that construction is underway on a memorial to these victims next to the Berlin office where the program was managed. The memorial will be a 100-foot glass wall. The city already has monuments to the Jewish, Gypsy and homosexual victims of Hitler’s reign.

This Nazi-era advertisement is typical of the official attitude. It reads: “60000 RM (Reichsmark) this is what this person suffering from hereditary defects costs the Community of Germans during his lifetime. Fellow Citizen, that is your money, too. Read ‘New People.’ The monthly magazine of the Office for Race Politics of the NSDAP.”

Exhibition At Berlin Wall Shows World’s Fortified Borders

Berlin Wall
Wikimedia Commons

The Berlin Wall has been a symbol of oppression and tyranny ever since it went up. When it fell in 1989, the world rejoiced and many hoped we would now live in a world without barriers.

As a new exhibition at a remaining part of the wall shows, however, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.

“Wall on Wall” is a photographic exhibition by German photographer Kai Wiedenhoefer. He has traveled the world taking photographs of barriers between people and nations and his exhibition features giant posters of his images plastered on the Berlin Wall. Large-format photos of walls between North and South Korea, the U.S. and Mexico, and Israel and Palestine cover a long stretch of the Berlin Wall on the flip side of the popular East Side Gallery.

The photos also show walls within countries that divide populations, such as those in Belfast and Baghdad. On my recent trip to Iraq I saw many of these walls, designed to separate Shia and Sunni neighborhoods in an attempt to reduce sectarian violence. Like the Berlin Wall, they’ve become a blank canvas for Iraqi graffiti artists.

“Wall on Wall” runs until September 13.

Feminists Protest Barbie ‘Dreamhouse’ In Berlin

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Barbie’s Eurotrip hit a roadblock at its first stop in Germany, where an activist group caused quite a production at the opening of a touring Barbie “Dreamhouse.” CNN is reporting a group of left-wing feminists, Femen, protested the opening of a 27,000-square-foot pink mansion earlier today in Berlin, arguing the attraction puts the sexism and shallow materialism they believe Barbie symbolizes on display.

Above is a picture of one of the bare-breasted protesters in front of the Dreamhouse. An inscription across her torso reads “Life in Plastic is Not Fantastic,” and – in case you can’t tell – she’s holding up a burning cross with a charred Barbie doll attached to it. Protesters were arrested, but the movement led to an “Occupy Barbie Dreamhouse” page on Facebook, which already has thousands of “likes.”

Located off the shopping district of Alexanderplatz, the life-sized mansion is full of Barbie-related fashions, furniture and accessories. It will be open to the public until August 25, at which point it’s slotted to move on to other cities throughout Europe. A Dreamhouse also opened inside a Florida shopping mall last week.

Frederick The Great’s Picture Gallery Celebrates 250 Years With Special Exhibition

Frederick the Great
A magnificent art gallery constructed by Frederick the Great of Prussia in Potsdam is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year, Art Daily reports.

The gallery at Sanssouci Park, part of Frederick the Great’s palace complex, was home to his vast collection of Classical and (then) contemporary art. While it lost much of its collection over the years, especially during the Napoleonic Wars and WWII, it’s still an impressive center for fine art.

To celebrate the anniversary, the gallery is hosting “The Most Beautyful Gallery – Revisiting the Picture Gallery of Frederick the Great,” and has brought together much of the original collection that got dispersed across Europe. Paintings from various periods fill the walls, including examples from the Italian Renaissance and High Baroque as well as 17th century Flemish and Dutch works. The gallery also shows Frederick’s passion for Classical sculpture. Even the walls are made of marble torn from ancient buildings.

Potsdam is only 23 miles from Berlin and makes a good day trip from the German capital.

“The Most Beautyful Gallery – Revisiting the Picture Gallery of Frederick the Great” runs until October 31.

[Photo courtesy Kent Wang]

Vintage Nude Photos On Display In Berlin’s Photography Museum

nude photos
The Museum of Photography in Berlin has just opened an exhibition of nude photos from the turn of the last century.

“The Naked Truth and More Besides Nude Photography around 1900″ brings together hundreds of nude photos from an era we normally associate with old-fashioned prudery. In fact, nude photos were incredibly popular at that time. They had existed since the earliest days of the medium, and by the 1880s it was getting much cheaper to reproduce photographs. This led to a boom in the distribution of all photos, nudes included.

Soon nudity could be seen in magazines, advertising, postcards, collectible cards found in cigarette packs and large-format posters. The exhibition looks at a range of different styles and purposes of nudes, ranging from artistic studies to the blatantly pornographic. Rural images and scenes from Classical myths were also popular, as were photos of the nudist movement, which was seeing its first wave of popularity at this time.

%Gallery-187444%The explosion in nudes led to society questioning their traditional assumptions. The marks that corsets left on the flesh made some question whether they should be worn. Homoerotica became more widespread and the first homoerotic magazine, Der Eigene, started in 1896 and published many male nudes.

People who wanted to buy or sell nude photos had to skirt the law. By dubbing the images “for artistic purposes only,” they could claim their interest wasn’t prurient, a bit like how head shops nowadays label bongs “for tobacco use only.” The police did make frequent busts, and one of the largest collections of nude photos from this era is housed at the Police Museum of Lower Saxony, which supplied many of the more risqué photos for this exhibition.

Then as now, there was a continuous debate over what was or was not obscene. Simple nudes were generally considered acceptable, especially if they were artistic studies or images of “primitive” peoples. Surprisingly, images of nude children were also more acceptable than today since they were considered images of innocence. While some child nudes are on display at the museum, none appear in this article.

“The Naked Truth and More Besides Nude Photography around 1900″ runs until August 25.

[Photo copyright Heinrich Kühn, copyright Estate of the Artist / Galerie Kicken Berlin]