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Reichsmusikkammer

As early as 1933, when Hitler came to power as the head of the Nazi Party, the Reichsmusikkammer [RMK, “Reich Chamber of Music”] was founded, an organization overseeing the whole of German musical life.

Prime Minister Göring and componer Richard Strauss, opening German Chambre of Culture, September 5, 1936 (source: NIOD/WWII Image Bank)
Prime Minister Göring and componer Richard Strauss, opening German Chambre of Culture, September 5, 1936 (source: NIOD/WWII Image Bank)
Richard Strauss, its first chairman, praised Hitler and Goebbels for this initiative in his opening address: “We know that the government of the German Reich has conferred rights as well as obligations on us: obligations in respect of the German people, obligations in respect of culture.… We shall clear the way for healthy work, thereby pushing back and eliminating the sickly and harmful.” The RMK was a giant bureaucratic machine. For instance, all concert programs had to be approved by this body, and the RMK strictly enforced its policy that not a single entartet [“degenerate”] musical work should slip through the net. The organization also policed music publishers and record companies. Membership in the Reichsmusikkammer was required of all professional musicians who could prove that they were “pure Aryan.” If this was not the case, a professional or performance ban was imposed on the musician in question. The Dutch Chambre of Culture became operational in 1942.

Source: Verboden muziek ["Entartete Musik"], Tine Nouwen; Landelijk Ondersteuningsinstituut Kunstzinnige Vorming, 1988

"Der Führer bei der Festsitzung der Reichskulturkammer. Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels bei seiner Festrede.", May 1, 1939 (source: NIOD/WWII Image Bank)
"Der Führer bei der Festsitzung der Reichskulturkammer. Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels bei seiner Festrede.", May 1, 1939 (source: NIOD/WWII Image Bank)