Breker, Arno, born 19-07-1900 in Elberfeld, now Wuppertal, was a German sculptor, best known for his public works in Nazi Germany, which were endorsed by the authorities as the antithesis of so-called “degenerate art”. He began to study architecture, along with stone-carving and anatomy and at age 20, was accepted to the Düsseldorf Academy of Arts , where he concentrated on sculpture. Breker joined the Nazi Party and was supported by Adolf Hitler (did you know). He was made “official state sculptor” by Hitler (see Hitler Paula) (see William Hitler), given a large property and provided a studio with thousand assistants. Hitler also exempted him from military service. Breker took commissions from the Nazis from 1933 through 1942, for example participating in a show of his work in occupied Paris in 1942.
On the morning of 22-06-1940, after the signing of the Franco-German armistice, Breker is flown to Headquarters, where Hitler (see Did you know) requests that he show him Paris. Architects Albert Speer and Hermann Giesler and Paul Giesler accompany them as well. “I want to be surrounded by artists”, says Hitler, as Breker recalls. When Breker asks him, in the course of their trip together, why, instead of making a quick visit to the French capital, he does not march into the metropolis with great splendor, Hitler answers, “I do not want to do that to this great cultural people”. Breker considers it necessary that Hitler’s personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann be removed from the sphere of artistic influence. In view of these proposals of Breker, Hitler postpones this theme. Until the fall of the Third Reich, Breker was a professor of visual arts in Berlin Joseph Goebbels (did you know) was the Gauleiter of Berlin. While nearly all of his sculptures survived WWII, more than 90% of his public work was destroyed by the allies after the war. The bust of Cosima Wagner the wife of Richard Wagner and Richard Wagner are still to see in front of the Bayreuth festival theater.
In 1948 Breker was designated as a “fellow traveler” of the Nazis and fined, upon which he returned to Düsseldorf.
He made a bust of Albert Speer and Winifred Winifred came to Breker from Bayreuth, in 1951, in order to sit for a somewhat larger-than-life portrait bust in his studio. Another famous model sculptor was the Austrian Josef Thorak, also a Hitler confidant.
Death and burial ground of Breker, Arno.
On 13-02-1991 at the very old age of 90, Arno Breker passed away at his home in Düsseldorf, the same day that Richard Wagner died and Siegfried “Fidi” Wagner.
Arno Breker is buried on the Nordfriedhof of Düsseldorf, only a few steps from his fellow architect Hermann Giesler, but also von SS Obersturmfùhrer, Albert Gemmeker, the former commander of the Westerbork concentration camp, where Anne Frank was integrated before leaving for Bergen Belsen, where she, her mother and her sister Margot would die. Close by are the graves of different “famous” WW II personalities, Generalmajor der Infanterie, Kommandeur der 271th Volkgrenadier Division, Martin Bieber, Hitler’s Press, Chief Otto Dietrich, Generalmajor der Flieger, Kommandeur 7th Flak Division, Alfred Erhard,
Father Otto Frank survived the concentration camps and, he died old age 91, on 19-08-1980, remarried in Bazel, Switzerland.
Hitler’s favourite architect Hermann Giesler, Generalleutnant der Artillerie, Kommandeur der 526th Infanterie Division, Fritz Kühne, diplomat Ernst von Rath, killed in Paris by the Jewish boy Herschel Grynspan , and SS Obergruppenführer, Höhere SS und Polizei Führer Nord, Fritz Weitzel.