Geoff Walden


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Haus der Deutschen Kunst, Munich

Part 4  --  Sculpture


      The premier sculptors of the Third Reich (that is, those who were Hitler's favorites) were Arno Breker, Josef Thorak, and Fritz Klimsch. Thorak and Breker were multi-talented, working in stone and metal with themes varying from the heroic to nudes, while Klimsch did mainly nudes. (Note - copyrights to the works of Arno Breker and Josef Thorak are held by the Europäische Kultur Stiftung and Arno-Breker-Museum in Bonn; used here by permission. Books and videos on Arno Breker are available from the museum - contact Joe Bodenstein at


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Thorak's works were often monumental, particularly those meant to grace the autobahns and the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nürnberg, so his studio had to be very large. The photo on the left shows Thorak working on an autobahn sculpture called "Monument to Work." The drawing on the right, from a 1938 issue of the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung newspaper, shows the inside of Thorak's studio. The huge scale can be seen from the minute size of the actual man and horse in the center foreground. The monuments under work were meant for the Märzfeld military demonstration area in Nürnberg (the figure on the right is "Siegesgöttin" (Goddess of Victory). A model of this collection, which was never installed, is shown below. Thorak's "Fahnenträger" and "Lanzenträger" were also meant for the Märzfeld.  Click here to see then-and-now views of Thorak's studio.


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On the left, a view taken on the opening day of the 1938 art exhibit; in the background is a model of Thorak's "Siegesgöttin." On the right, another view of Thorak at work on "Denkmal der Arbeit" (Monument to Work).


On the left, a model of Thorak's "Denkmal der Arbeit" (Monument to Work), with an artist's conception of the work in place - this work was to be placed in the median at the southern entrance to the autobahn system, at the Austria border near Salzburg. See the pictures above of Thorak working on the full-size sculpture (which was never finished).


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Arno Breker's works were also widely used to decorate government buildings. These two statues flanked the entrance to the New Reichs Chancellory in Berlin. On the left is "Die Partei" (1939) and on the right is "Die Wehrmacht" (1939). (Center photo from Das Bauen im neuen Reich by Gerdy Troost, Bayreuth, 1938 ed.)


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Honor Guard of the Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler (Hitler's Body Guards)
in front of "Die Wehrmacht" in the Reichskanzlei Ehrenhof (Court of Honor)


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Military and government themes were favorites at all the exhibitions. On the left is "HJ-Trommler" (Hitler Jugend Drummer) by Anni Spetzler-Proßchwitz, 1938; on the right is "Hoheitsadler" (National Eagle) by Hanns Goebl, 1941.


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"LMG-Schütze" (Light Machinegun Gunner) by Bernd Hartmann-Wiedenbrück, 1941

"Aufstürmender Grenadier" (Assaulting Grenadier) by Bernd Hartmann-Wiedenbrück, 1943



"Nach dem Kampf" (After the Battle) by Hans Bühler, 1943

"In Memoriam" by Paul Bronisch, 1941


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Some artists portrayed animals. On the left is Fritz Behn's "Adler" (Eagle), 1939; in the center is Emil Manz's "Tiger," 1938; on the right is Josef Thorak's "Pferd" (Horse), 1939. Two of Thorak's bronze horses graced the garden entrance to Hitler's Reichskanzlei in Berlin.


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Thorak's "Pferd" in the garden of the Reichskanzlei in Berlin.


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"Fahnenträger" (Standard Bearer) by Josef Thorak, 1937 (another work meant for the Märzfeld in Nürnberg)

"Drachentöter" (Dragon Slayer) by Franz Josef Mikorey


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"Die Schauende" (The Looker) by Fritz Klimsch, 1937 (the model was Martha Nabel from Berlin).


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"Die Schauende" still exists, as decoration on the terrace overlooking Lake Chiemsee in southern Bavaria, behind the former Autobahn rest stop. Click here to view another similar work by Klimsch, that also still exists.


"Genius des Sieges" (Genius of Victory) by Adolf Wamper, 1940

"Deutsche Waffe" (German Weapon) by Hias Lautenbacher, 1941


Neptune Fountain in Munich, by Josef Wackerle, then and now. On the right is another fountain work by Wackerle, this one at the Ernst Sachs Bad in Schweinfurt.


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Bust of Hitler, by Ferdinand Liebermann, 1937

Bust of Field Marshall Rommel, by
Fritz Berberich, 1943



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