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Extracts from the Manual of the Reich Chamber of Culture (1937)

The mightiest instrument of Nazi cultural policy was the Reich Chamber of Culture [Reichskulturkammer or RKK], which was founded by Goebbels on September 22, 1933. The “nature and functions” of its various sub-chambers are described in the Manual of the Reich Chamber of Culture (1937), which is excerpted below. The RKK led and controlled the National Socialist “coordination” [Gleichschaltung] of culture by making membership in its organization mandatory for anyone active in any cultural field and by engaging heavily in censorship. Artists who were deemed racially or politically undesirable were barred from membership and were thus effectively prevented from working. Particular attention was given to new media, radio and film, for they had great potential with respect to propaganda.

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The Nature and Functions of the Reich Chamber of Creative Art

The Reich Chamber of Creative Art was established as a professional body of public law on grounds of the law of the Reich Chamber of Culture. Membership in the Chamber is a prerequisite, for the members of the following professions, in practicing their professions:

Architects, interior decorators, horticulturists, sculptors, painters, engravers, commercial engravers, designers, fine art craftsmen, copyists, restorers of works of art, dealers in works of art and antiques, fine art publishers, dealers in prints.

Members of the Chamber must also be: all artists’ associations, art associations, associations of fine art craftsmen, institutes for creative art and their faculties.

The first problem confronting the Chamber following its establishment was to locate and organize all professionals required to join the Chamber and to unite them in an organization in conformity with the new principles. In the course of these measures, all former associations which were backed by some interests were discontinued without exception, and each member obligated to become a member of the Reich chamber without fail. [ . . . ]

The Nature and Functions of the Reich Chamber of Music

[ . . . ]

The Reich Chamber of Music has been called upon to keep alive the fundamental thought to professional progress by organizing, with due consideration for the character and activities of the musician, the cultural, economical and legal conditions of the music profession or by protecting the existing conditions in such manner that music will be preserved for the German people as one of its most precious possessions.

[ . . . ]

The Nature and Functions of the Reich Chamber of Literature

[ . . . ]

The Reich Chamber of Literature comprises as members all persons who are connected with German literature, whether they are the authors of the original literature of just commercial dealers. It keeps the profession free from undesirable elements and the book market free from un-German books. [ . . . ]

It is the function of the Reich Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda (Department VIII) to exert political influence on German literature and especially to influence the policy of libraries. [ . . . ]

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