Only the House of German Art in Munich has been built by the German people for its German art.
It is with the greatest pleasure that I can observe today that alongside the many decent older artists, who were previously terrorized and oppressed but who always remained German deep down, new masters are announcing themselves among our young people. A stroll through this exhibit will allow you to find much that will once again appeal to you as beautiful and above all as respectable, and which you will perceive as good. In particular, the average level of the submitted graphic works was from the outset extraordinarily high and thus satisfying.
From what is being exhibited, many of our young artists will now recognize the path they must take, and perhaps they will also receive new ideas from the greatness of the time in which we are all living, and above all courage for work that is truly diligent and therefore in the end also accomplished.
And once sacred conscientiousness is once again given its due in this area, I have no doubt that out of the mass of these decent artists, the Almighty will once more lift up some to the eternal starry heavens of the immortal, divinely gifted artists of great times. For we do not believe that the time of the creative force of gifted individuals came to an end with the great men of past centuries, and that the future will instead be one of the collective, mush-like masses! No! We believe that especially today, when the greatest individual achievements are proving themselves in so many areas, the highest value of personality will once again make its victorious appearance also in the realm of art.
And so the only wish I can express in this moment is that this new house may be so fortunate, in the coming centuries, to once again be able to reveal to the German people many works by great artists, and in this way contribute not only to the glory of this true city of art, but to the honor and standing of the entire German nation.
I hereby declare the great German Art Exhibit of 1937 in Munich open!
Source: Hitler’s Speech at the Opening of the “Great German Art Exhibition” in the House of German Art, Munich (July 18, 1937), in Völkischer Beobachter, July 19, 1937, p. 1ff. Excerpts from the German original German speech are also reprinted in Max Domarus, Hitler: Reden und Proklamationen 1932-1945. Band I: Zweiter Halbband (1935-1938). R. Löwit: Wiesbaden, 1973, pp. 706-10.
Translation: Thomas Dunlap (with additional passages by GHDI project staff)