Reich Chamber of Culture

The Reich Chamber of Culture (Reichskulturkammer, abbreviated as RKK) was a government agency in Nazi Germany. It was established by law on 22 September 1933 in the course of the Gleichschaltung process at the instigation of Reich Minister Joseph Goebbels as a professional organization of all German creative artists.[1] Defying the competing ambitions of the German Labour Front (DAF) under Goebbels' rival Robert Ley, it was meant to gain control over the entire cultural life in Germany creating and promoting Aryan art consistent with Nazi ideals.

Reich Chamber of Culture
Reichsadler Deutsches Reich (1935–1945).svg
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H29353, Joseph Goebbels im Arbeitszimmer.jpg
Minister Goebbels and his Staatssekretär, Walther Funk, at the Reich Ministry of Propaganda. Referent des Ministers Karl Hanke is in the background (1937).
Agency overview
Formed22 September 1933 (1933-09-22)
Dissolved8 May 1945 (1945-05-08)
JurisdictionNazi Germany
HeadquartersWilhelmplatz, Berlin
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • See list, Vice president

Every artist had to apply for membership on presentation of an Aryan certificate. A rejected inscription de facto resulted in an occupational ban.

Structure and organisationEdit

The RKK was affiliated with the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda with its seat on Wilhelmplatz in Berlin. Headed by Goebbels himself, a state secretary of his ministry served as vice president:

The 1935 Reich Chamber of Music decree to the Berlin musician Werner Liebenthal dictating the immediate cessation of his professional activity.

SS officer Hans Hinkel was one of the officers in charge of the chamber and Goebbels' special commissioner for the removal of Jews from German cultural life.

Different subdivisions of the RKK dealt with film, music, visual arts, theatre, literature, media, and radio, organized in seven departments:

The RKK was ultimately dissolved and its assets confiscated by Law no. 2 (October 10, 1945) of the Allied Control Council. Footage and archives material are kept by the German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv) and the Berlin Document Center.

Degenerate artEdit

Goebbels visits the 1938 Entartete Kunst exhibition in Munich

The RKK played a significant role in the Nazi oppression of Modern art, defamed as "Cultural Bolshevism". One notable project of the Bildende Künste (Fine Arts) division under Adolf Ziegler was the Entartete Kunst exhibition, of works deemed "degenerate."[2] Opened in July 1937 at the Hofgarten in Munich, touring exhibitions were held from 1938 to 1941 in several major German cities such as Berlin, Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Salzburg, and Hamburg. Attendance was measured in the millions (perhaps largely because entrance was free), and the so-called degenerate art may have been more popular with the public than the Nazis anticipated. Goebbels had supported German expressionists until Hitler intervened and expressed his disgust at artists such as Max Liebermann and Emil Nolde. To raise cash for the Nazi war effort, certain art dealers were authorised to emigrate to New York to sell the art.[3]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "Culture in the Third Reich: Overview". Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. June 10, 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  2. ^ "Culture in the Third Reich: Disseminating the Nazi Worldview". Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. June 10, 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  3. ^ Cohan, William D. (2011-11-17). "MoMA's Problematic Provenances". Retrieved 2022-01-22. By November 1936, Valentin had made his deal with the Nazis that would allow him to emigrate to New York and to sell "degenerate art" to help fund the war effort.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)