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New Research Findings: Museums and Art Associations during National Socialism

Public Lecture by Historian Prof. Dr. Bernd Sösemann on June 16, at Freie Universität

№ 207/2016 from Jun 13, 2016

On June 16, 2016, at Freie Universität Berlin, the historian Prof. Dr. Bernd Sösemann will address patronage during the Nazi dictatorship. In particular, he will focus on members of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum Association (KFMV) of Jewish origin and their fate in the context of racist Nazi policies. He will also address the historical responsibility of the association. In the lecture he will present the findings of a study commissioned by the KFMV. Sösemann analyzes the relationship of the members of the KFMV to the NSDAP and its affiliated organizations as well as the political, professional, social, and denominational composition of the association. He also deals with the issue of whether the attitude of individuals or the club management changed during the war. In addition, he discusses whether this study can serve in terms of methodology and conception as a basis for a systematic and comprehensive reappraisal of other associations and institutions in Berlin during the Nazi dictatorship. The event is public, and admission is free. RSVP to info@kaiser-friedrich-museumsverein.de.

The Kaiser Friedrich Museum Association was founded in 1896 for the benefit of the State Museums of Berlin. Currently is has more than 600 members who still function as patrons. The association's statutes, acquisition, and collecting activities attracted worldwide attention before the First World War. The Director General of the Royal Museums, Wilhelm Bode, and the patron entrepreneur James Simon along with Karl von der Heydt, Paul von Schwabach, and Franz von Mendelssohn embodied the association during the Empire and the Weimar Republic. The KFMV owes a great deal to the commitment of its members with "Jewish origin," but very little is known of their fate during the 1930s and 1940s. Therefore the board of the association commissioned the historian Bernd Sösemann to undertake a study and form an expert opinion.

Prof. Dr. Bernd Sösemann heads the Research Center for Communication History and Applied Journalism (AKiP) at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute at Freie Universität Berlin. His main fields of research are media, propaganda, and the Nazi dictatorship as well as companies and associations. Sösemann's publications include a biography of the Jewish chief editor Theodor Wolff. He also edited Wolff's work in eight volumes and published a two-volume documentation on Nazi propaganda in addition to numerous contributions to cultural and communication historical themes of modern and contemporary history.

Further Information

Time and Location

  • Thursday, June 16, 2016, 6 p.m.
  • Fritz Haber Villa, Hittorfstr. 18, 14195 Berlin. subway station: Thielplatz (U3)


Prof. Dr. Bernd Sösemann, Friedrich Meinecke Institute, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-58448, Email: bernd.soesemann@fu-berlin.de