This is an interpretation of a January 1920 statement from the leader of an artists’ rights group, responding to a right-wing movement, just beginning to attack modern German art as “degenerate.”
Wherever you hear words like ‘German’ and ‘un-German,’ ‘semitic’ and ‘anti-semitic,’ there you find someone who is dangerous to all artists.
Whoever demands that German artists be ‘patriotic’ is firing an arrow straight into humanity’s chest. With our thoughts and sensibilities, today we mount the effort against these dangerous ideas, which are leading a regressive struggle against the new modern renaissance.
These counter-revolutionary forces are proving their lack of understanding for the changing German arts scene by their own refusal to play any role in it.
These (reactionaries) are using art only as a justification, claiming to ‘protect the German pinnacle of humanity,’ reaching out to us only with their vile hate and a mailed fist.
Their hands are drenched in blood. They stink of it. Their song never changes, the same tune we’ve always heard from them before; the rasping dirge they will always sing as they march off to their battles; to the future wars they inevitably crave, without end….