The Essence of European Culture

The Essence of European Culture: The evidence of Hans-Jürgen Syberberg[1]

By Alexander Jacob

Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, Alexander Jacob

In today’s world of financial crises in the West and violent revolutions in the Middle East and rampant economic ambitions in the Far East, the question of the preservation of the European tradition may seem at first glance to be an intellectual extravagance. But with the increasing uncertainties facing us in the future our past may be the greatest source of strength left to us. Anybody who has studied the history and art of Europe will realise that the cultural development of Europe has for two millennia been intimately related to the monarchical rule of the continent as well as to the religious support of this rule by, first, the Indo-European religions of Greece and Rome and, then, Christianity. The concept of an atheist proletarian state projected in the nineteenth century by the Jewish political economist, Karl Marx, and realised in the twentieth by the Soviet Union as well as America, the two powers that divided Europe between themselves after the war, was indeed the wrecking ball that demolished the authentic Europe and substituted in its place the sterile economic regimentations of the present European Union. Both the Communist and American colonisations of Europe were of course made possible by the debacle that Germany suffered at the end of the Second World War. With the fall of Communism as well twenty years ago, virtually the whole of Europe is now under the American sphere of influence. Unfortunately, the Jewish American rulers will not, much less even than the Russian Communist ones, allow Europe to recover its own life and character because of their fear of the anti-Semitism of the last German effort to reorganise the continent in an independently European way.

Since the task of protecting Europe from the socio-cultural devastations of Marxism, communist or capitalist, is one that was already attempted by the Germans before and during the war, it would be useful to learn from the German understanding and experience of this problem. It is for this reason that I should like to discuss the cultural and political commentary on Germany during and after the war that is contained in an important book written twenty years ago by the German film director Hans-Jürgen Syberberg: Vom Unglück und Glück der deutschen Kunst nach dem letzten Kriege (On the misfortune and good fortune of art in Germany after the last war, 1990). This is indeed a unique work of modern German social history whose political and cultural insights express the authentic genuine German spirit as few other artistic works of postwar Germany do. In a century dominated by various varieties of Marxist ideology, in the Soviet Union as well as in the Capitalist West (where its Trotskyist internationalist agenda is now disguised as “Neo-conservatism”[2]), it is inspiring to read the views of a genuinely German thinker whose mind was formed by a traditional, rural Prussian upbringing and the idealistic thought characteristic of German Romanticism, although it is true that Syberberg is sympathetic also to certain Jewish socialist thinkers of the early part of the twentieth century such as Hans Mayer, Ernst Simon Bloch and Hannah Arendt,[3] whom he considers as being more allied to the authentically German intellectual tradition than the thinkers and artists who established themselves in Germany after the war.

The numerous ruminations which constitute Syberberg’s work delve, evocatively and hauntingly, not only into the author’s own past in Pomerania during and after the second World War but also into the harrowing past of his country, which he rightly considers as having suffered the first mortal blow with the defeat of Prussia in 1918. For the Prussian Reich had represented the acme of the organised German social ethos, and the defeat, in 1945, of Hitler’s grandiose ambitions for a thousand-year Reich made it even more difficult to recover this ethos since it allowed the Americans to erase all memory of the real Germany and radically reconstruct the western part of the country under their control in their own plastic image.

In the last part of the work, written during the fall of the Berlin Wall, Syberberg grasps at what then appeared as a possibility of a regeneration of the unified country through the unspoiled social spirit of the people from the East. Unfortunately, these hopes have by now been largely disappointed – since the easterners just freed from their Communist chains were only too eager to plunge into the capitalist trough and there was little chance of the capitalist westerners themselves learning anything of the virtues of austerity from those from the East who may have remained untainted or unhurt by Marxism. Nevertheless, despite the present subjection of the modern world to Jewish American socio-political dictates,[4] Syberberg’s book serves to remind its readers, be they German or American or otherwise, of the basic falseness of the self-proclaimed success of the Americans vis-à-vis the lands that they have brought under their control through brute force and social indoctrination, the latter taking the form either of deliberate re-education, as in postwar Germany, or of an incessant media propaganda, as in the rest of Europe. Reading the views of Syberberg on the hollow state of present-day German culture in spite of its much-vaunted postwar “economic miracle” allows us to recognise the devastating effect of the Jewish American socio-political ideology on any genuine culture that it may come into contact with or seek to dominate.

The real tragedy of the second World War is thus seen, in retrospect, to have been not just the enormous numbers of dead and injured and displaced that it produced but also the almost total extinction of the art that Germany had supported and attempted to maintain through the centuries as the highest significance of the political life of the nation and empire. With the total collapse of Germany at the end of the Third Reich, the centre of European culture, what Syberberg calls its “backbone”, was indeed broken. And in this work Syberberg achieves what he calls a “Trauerarbeit” which he considers essential for the restitution of the health of the German psyche which has until now been forbidden to mourn its own losses while the Jews, on the other hand, have been allowed to commemorate the massacre of their people as a turning point in the history of the world.

I may briefly mention here that Syberberg was born in 1935 in Nossendorf in Pomerania to a Prussian ruling class family. He lived in Rostock and Berlin until 1945 and moved in 1953 to West Germany, where he did his doctorate on Dürrenmatt at the University of Munich. Influenced also by Brecht’s anti-realistic “epic theatre”, Syberberg began producing documentary films in 1963, but did not achieve international fame until his film on the Bavarian king Ludwig II: Requiem für einen jungfräulichen König (1972), which combined Brechtian dramatic tableaux with a soundtrack of Wagnerian music to great evocative effect. This was followed by Karl May in 1974 about the romantic German novelist who wrote of adventures among exotic peoples like the Indians of America and the Turks of the Ottoman Empire, and whose novels were admired by Hitler. In the following year Syberberg filmed a long interview with Winifred Wagner called Winifred Wagner und die Geschichte des Hauses Wahnfried von 1914-1975. His next film was on Hitler himself and called Hitler. Ein Film aus Deutschland. This was followed by a filmed version of Wagner’s Parsifal in 1981. His final films were filmed versions of monologue dramas featuring Edith Clever, such as Die Nacht (1984), Heinrich von Kleist’s Penthesilea (1987) and Die Marquise von O (1989), Ein Traum, was sonst? (1994), which evoked the end of the Bismarckian Reich, and a two-part film called Höhle der Erinnerung (1997).

Apart from directing films, Syberberg also published books about film-making and social and cultural history starting with Syberbergs Filmbuch in 1976, Die freudlose Gesellschaft. Notizen aus dem letzten Jahr (1981), Der Wald steht schwarz und schweiget (1984), the present work in 1990 and Der verlorene Auftrag. Ein Essay (1994). Perhaps the most important of these is the work I have chosen to discuss and it is also one of the most controversial. Soon after its publication Hellmuth Karasek remarked hysterically in Der Spiegel that “one remembers that it is with such sentences, such thoughts, such hollow conspiracy theories that the book-burning of 1933 and the final solution of 1942 were prepared and made possible … They are not abstruse babble, they are criminal“.[5] Oppressed by the controversy that arose around the book, Syberberg gradually withdrew from the film world deciding to retire to his parental house in Nossendorf which was his original artistic nursery. Indeed, as he states in the present work, he left the public limelight with little regret since his public career had been initiated under a cloak of hypocrisy when, as a young immigrant to Americanised West Germany, he had managed to acquire a standing in the world of contemporary German cinema by appearing to conform to the social regulations of its modernist leaders.

Although the Jewish attacks on Syberberg were expectedly vicious, many of the criticisms of American consumer society made by Syberberg in this work were in fact already made during the second World War by the Jewish Marxist thinker Theodor Adorno (né Wiesengrund) (1903-1969) in his Dialektik der Aufklärung (1944). Adorno, along with Max Horkheimer, founded the Frankfurt School in Germany, and later moved to America, where he lived between 1938 and 1949. Adorno’s critique of capitalism took the form of a Marxist analysis of liberal consumerism in the West, especially America and gives evidence of the fact that even the Marxists of Europe were rather more developed in their artistic sensibilities than the capitalist Americans. In the Dialektik der Aufklärung, Adorno revealed the failure of the Enlightenment to liberate human beings from fear and to install them as masters.[6] Instead, capitalism had continued its ethos of “domination” in a threefold manner including domination by human beings, domination of the nature of human beings, and the domination of some human beings by others. This domination is a proof of the “unfree” character of modern society since it is bent on the neutralisation or destruction of the “other” in its pursuit of “progress”.[7] Adorno’s critique of capitalist consumer society in the fourth chapter of his work ‘The culture industry: Enlightenment as mass-deception’ is largely the same as Syberberg’s since it points to a totalitarian system of production wherein the “universal criterion of merit is the amount of conspicuous production, of blatant cash production”. Culture considered as an industry can only produce repetitions of the same based on formulas which leave no scope for the imagination. The constant pressure to produce new effects (what is today called “innovation”) is accompanied by the insistence to conform to the old successful patterns and conventions of cultural production. Thus the goal of liberalism is “the most rigid of all styles” and “anyone who resists can only survive by fitting in”. The totalitarian effect of capitalist society is clear from the fact that “freedom to choose an ideology … everywhere proves to be freedom to choose what is always the same”.

The reason why culture is so easily commodified under late capitalism is that, now,

Amusement … is the prolongation of work … mechanisation has such power over a man’s leisure and happiness and so profoundly determines the manufacture of amusement goods that his experiences are inevitably after-images of the work process itself … What happens at work, in the factory, or in the office can only be escaped from by approximation to it in one’s leisure time.[8]

At the same time, the free availability of so-called “art” in the capitalistic society also makes it relatively worthless, so that “Criticism and respect disappear in the culture industry; the former becomes a mechanical expertise, the latter is succeeded by a shallow cult of leading personalities”. Ultimately, the consumer himself becomes cynical:

When thrown in free, the now debased works of art, together with the rubbish to which the medium assimilates them, are secretly rejected by the fortunate recipients, who are supposed to be satisfied by the mere fact that there is so much to be seen and heard.

Syberberg makes similar comments in his book on the mass media, which he accuses of conducting a “gigantic environmental pollution of the soul”:

So we sit there in the land of plenty of realities on five to forty channels from all over the world, our lives lonely, sated and having lost art.[9]


Thus, he says, we find ourselves “suffocating in unprecedented technological prosperity, without spirit, without meaning …”

Adorno, being of German origin, was also aware that in Germany the situation had been better until the wars:

In Germany the failure of democratic control to permeate all life had led to a paradoxical situation. Many things were exempt from the market mechanism which had invaded Western countries. The German educational system, universities, theatres with artistic standards, great orchestras, and museums enjoyed protection. The political powers, state and municipalities, which had inherited such institutions from absolutism, had left them with a measure of freedom from the forces of power which dominates the market, just as princes and feudal lords had done up to the nineteenth century.

He proclaimed that his aim in this work was to effect a “dialectical enlightenment of the Enlightenment” whereby, by understanding the origin and goal of thought itself, thought would overcome the current dominations through reconciliation. However, given Adorno’s pessimistic view of the possibility of correcting capitalistic society, it is hard to see how any transformation of society can be possible. In fact, Adorno does not even seem to wish for such a transformation, even through art. For he believes that art is “the social antithesis of society” and, following Marx, cannot be detached from its present social context. Thus, at most, an artwork can simultaneously challenge the way things are and suggest how things could be better, but practically it leaves things unchanged. In other words, Adorno’s aesthetics, unlike the idealistic, gives art no independence for the execution of its vital ethical role as a regenerator of society. As regards the arts in general, Adorno declared in his Aesthetic Theory (1970) that since capitalist industry has destroyed Nature and continues to do so, art has been forced to seek its reality in abstraction and treats “beauty” as a poor substitute for “happiness”, which generally assumes a far greater importance in the capitalistic world. While maintaining utopian aims for art as a tool of social change, Adorno is thus satisfied to confirm the impotence of modern art as an instrument of true philosophy.

Worse, Adorno’s postwar “critiques” are informed by a perverse Jewish revanchism which is most clearly revealed in his Philosophy of Modern Music (1949), where, in his eulogy of Schoenberg’s atonal music, he outlines what he considers to be the purpose of all modern music:

What radical music perceives is the untransfigured suffering of man … The seismographic registration of traumatic shock becomes, at the same time, the technical structural law of music. It forbids conformity and development. … Modern music seeks absolute oblivion as its goal. It is the surviving message of despair from the shipwrecked.[10]

We see that Adorno’s real aim here is to seek revenge on the Germans by imposing the sense of total despair felt by the Jews after the Third Reich upon the entire European folk among whom they still lived. In fact, Adorno is well-known for his infamous remark that “to write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric”.[11] In “Noten zur Literatur IV, v.11” Adorno clarified that he had meant by his remark mainly that “keine heitere Kunst mehr vorgestellt werden kann” (no cheerful art can be imagined any longer). In other words, the horrible discordance of modern music and art is the only art that he as a Jew would permit the Europeans lest they become barbaric in their cultural elevation once again.

In his 1955 essay, “The aging of New Music”, Adorno himself criticised the modern music which he had fostered for what he called its “abstract negation” but he nevertheless refused to welcome harmony again. Adorno had sought to drive German aesthetics in all manner of contradictory of directions so that it would have nothing more to do with Fascism. Having in this way wrought a complete destruction of music especially in Germany, Adorno honestly commented in his 1955 essay that “great music may well turn out to be an art form that was possible only during a limited period of human history”. What he failed to add, however, is that this period – which really came to an end at the turn of the century but continued to live a fitful life until the second World War – was a pre-Schoenbergian one marked by a relative absence of Jewish participation and interference in its musical creativity.

We see that Adorno, for all his European cultural background, is finally as cynical as the Marxist-Anarchists who attacked classical European art at the time of the anti-bourgeois, anti-nationalist, anti-imperialist Russian Revolution. One of the most influential cultural movements in the West that coincided with the Revolution was indeed “Dadaism”, which may have had its initial impetus in Romania and Hungary, where Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco, both Romanian Jews, fostered anarchistic “anti-art”. Around 1916, Dadaism found a centre in Zurich under the leadership of the anarchist German artists, Hugo Ball and Hans Arp. Although Cubism, which may have arisen from the primitivist tendencies of Gauguin and Matisse, was formulated even earlier than Dadaism, the deliberate destruction of the artistic capacities of the Europeans may indeed be traced back to the anarchist programme of Dadaism. We know that the cultural anti-Semitism of the National Socialist regime that emerged in the thirties was directed precisely against the reduction of art to inaesthetic anti-humanistic forms in what they called ‘Kunstbolshevismus’. With the defeat of National Socialism at the end of the second World War, there occurred an easy reversion to the cultural Bolshevism of the pre-war years.

What is to be borne in mind regarding the so-called modernist world is that it is not really a “free” one but one that has been programmed, at a very deep psychological level, by a long process of indoctrination that began in the forties with Adorno himself, even though Adorno’s own critique of capitalism had been based on his Marxist recognition of its lack of freedom. In the late forties, Adorno co-directed the anti-dictatorial “Authoritarian Personality” project, which prepared the way for the “baby boomer drug/rock/sex counterculture” that became a reality two decades later. In 1950, Adorno and his colleague Max Horkheimer were brought back from America to Germany by the so-called “Congress for Cultural Freedom”, funded by the CIA, to de-Nazify the post-war German educational system and cultural institutions. The Authoritarian Personality project did not restrict its programme of indoctrination to the German people but considered the American people too, despite their participation in the fight to defeat Hitler and Mussolini, to be intrinsically Fascist and anti-Semitic and therefore “advanced techniques of psychological manipulation” were vital and justified for purging the populace of these evil “authoritarian” impulses.[12] In the fifties, modern art and music were therefore strenuously promoted by the Congress in Europe as well as in America.

The Jewish programme of indoctrination naturally had a serious damaging effect on German culture which had been at the heart of European civilisation for hundreds of years. This devastation is what Syberberg laments in his work. Syberberg’s description of the anti-natural and inaesthetic forms that modern art assumes begins with a critique of the Enlightenment social standards that still control it:

The Enlightenment analysis of social sciences signifies an attack on monarchist history and the old orders of life and the world itself and a colonisation of these human domains through the democratic imperialism of self-destruction.

The commercially driven art of today is entirely opposed to Nature: “All sensibilities, knowledge instinct and powers of imitation are withered, debauched, ridiculed, both of the landscape and of the soul and the feelings.” The result of the democracy propagated by the French Revolution and its Marxist Socialist pupils is “To make oneself rich, to suppress the great and high and destroy the individual for a quick and cheap trial of throw-away society, for a pollution of Nature, until the latter strikes back.”

We have noted already from Adorno’s aesthetic analyses the essential similarity in the collectivist ethos of Communism as well as that of Capitalism, both of which seek only material happiness and do not respect the natural foundations of art, which grows from the culture of a land, and, almost literally, from its soil. According to Syberberg, art is virtually impossible without a nationalistic and aristocratic social system since democratic forms will always cater to the material welfare of the majority of people regardless of their origin and not to their spiritual elevation, which can only arise from the complete education of an individual within the social and religious orders of his own culture, which is necessarily rooted in his own land, and not from the atheistic internationalism of Marxist societies whether communist or capitalist.

The reason why art finds it so difficult to return to its source in Nature is that true art indeed has to be based on “blood and soil”. It is an art that does not want power or money. It is

a matter of following old instincts, like animals, according to the space of the spiritual history of creation as a counter-world to the real, with a temporal claim to eternity emerging from history to become history.

But in Germany, after the war, the natural springs of art were forbidden owing to their associations with Hitler’s “blood and soil” doctrines. The paranoid aversion to Hitler initiated by the Jews has indeed resulted in three taboos in the realm of art: (i) the prohibition of beauty, since Hitler’s Reich was considered as an “aestheticisation of politics”, (ii) the prohibition of all high art by Adorno in his remark “Nach Auschwitz kein Gedicht mehr” (No more poems after Auschwitz), and (iii) the rejection of agrarian culture as being closely linked to Hitler’s “blood and soil” mythos. We see clearly the impossibility of true art in a world that removes from it all its genuine bases.

The result of this unnatural perversion of European aesthetics is the unrelenting preference of contemporary art for

the small, the low, the crippled, the sick and dirt to brightness, of the base as a strategy from below … with the praise of freedom, of betrayal, of the criminals, whores, of hate, ugliness, of lies and crime, of unnaturalness, vulgarity, … History becomes the political show, business art …The commandment of ugliness rules life as well as art, and the rat becomes the symbol of the interesting, like the pig a provocative name of humorous respect. Judas becomes more important than his god and master.

And culture in general is at the same time ossified into a museum industry wherein

Our democracy affords art in super houses with a tax budget, according to scientifically explained knowledge, cultivates old handicrafts as the last bastion of dying skills and … counts success according to the number of sold entry-tickets and tolerates self-criticism through paid-for protest as evidence of freedom.

The highest value of this post-Hitlerian aesthetics is

the pluralistic postulate of freedom and the equality of styles and orientation and individuals analogous to a social intention of expressing and making accessible every artwork … Through the loss of co-ordinates everything becomes equal.

As a result, as Adorno had already pointed out, the art of the modern age is always monotonous. As Syberberg puts it: “Art of always similar texts and scores, where nothing can change but the fashions of directorial style. The triumph of an art for the museum cannot be greater”. Thus the collapse in the East is answered by the weariness in the West which may be evidenced “in the book fairs and film festivals and on the stages and in the art exhibitions, the collapse of architecture as a culture-ordering factor of Nature, in the sense of a commission for landscape and city and the community of man”.

The worst aspect of this modern cultural industry is its ostracism of those who do not subscribe to its rules. This is done through either open battle or through silencing so that “All self-proclaimed principles of diversity of opinion, of joy in experimenting, of information at least are immediately betrayed when the consensus on which they live is in danger, for example that of this aesthetics since 1945.” In fact, in postwar Germany, “a mafia system associated with living the lie of democracy” had come to power:

an unholy alliance of a Jewish leftist aesthetics against the guilty to the point of boredom and lies crippling all cultural life, so that guilt was able to become an imagination-killing business, no longer fruitful but restricting, as the criterion of production and of the public …That produced, especially in Germany, from this crippled society, a neurotic explosiveness which, on account of the central position of Germany intellectually and geographically, had to have an influence on international culture. Anyone who went with the Jews or with the leftists made a career and it did not certainly have anything to do with love or understanding or indeed inclination.

Syberberg is convinced (rightly, as we have seen) that Adorno and the other founding fathers of the postwar Germany had deliberately fostered an art that would result in “the crippling of the superior race”:

the race of superior men [Herrenmenschen] has been seduced, the land of poets and thinkers has become the fat booty of corruption, business, and lazy comfort.

In film, the technologically most advanced art of the age, Hollywood “sells its interpretations of world-understanding in dress code, seductive gestures and action and facial overtures between enticement and intimidation to the youth of the world, interpreting anew the world histories, like a revenge on the world, impoverishing and emptying …” Especially in Germany, memory has turned into a business of the victors, representing themselves as victims of the Holocaust in films and TV serials, as well as of the Germans, who must be represented for ever as a guilty people who must never lament their own losses:

The children were turned to hatred against their fathers, and art became a case of neurosis as a sign of the suppression. Everybody was enticed with wealth, intimidated with guilt, raised in thanks and the significance of thought and life was threatened and all values changed … Zero hour began in Germany, in the middle of Europe, the two remnant countries as the best example of progress, social and democratic …

But “Death without a purificatory lament promotes the memory-business, with those enticed able to be blackmailed to their own self-exploitation …” And

One who does not escape from his memories without activating them becomes sick and, in the case of a corresponding claim, wicked to the point of self-destruction. And it is a repulsion of the knowledge that there must always be art overcoming here through the beauty of love, like the conception of a new different world.

We note here the difference between Syberberg’s championing of art as a redemptive influence on society and Adorno’s use of it as an instrument of revenge. And we realise that the entire postwar aesthetics has indeed constituted a Jewish strategy of social control and power, whether it at first called itself proletarian or whether it now calls itself liberal or neo-conservative.

Indeed the principal phenomenon of the history of the twentieth century may be considered to have been the triumph of the Jewish god over the Christian-European. As Syberberg puts it:  “2000 years in their mission to make the world subject to them, the oriental god mingled with Greek and Roman and North-European peoples. A god, who made them powerful and great and brought them their end.” But eventually, “The era which began with Christ, the distant god from the East, ended with Hitler’s death, Jerusalem conquers, finally for all, through the others for us.” The result of the loss of Prussia and Germany was that Israel quickly gained in international political, social and cultural power and

the Jewish interpretation of the world followed upon the Christian, just as the Christian one followed Roman and Greek culture. So now Jewish analyses, images, definitions of art, science, sociology, literature, politics, the information media, dominate. Marx and Freud are the pillars that mark the road from East to West. Neither are imaginable without Judaism. Their systems are defined by it. The axis USA-Israel guarantees the parameters. That is the way people think now, the way they feel, act and disseminate information. We live in the Jewish epoch of European cultural history. And we can only wait, at the pinnacle of our technological power, for our last judgement at the edge of the precipice …

Of the major themes of modern European history Syberberg considers the most crucial to have been (i) the disappearance of Prussia and the partition of Germany after the war into capitalist and communist countries, the former re-educated and seduced by material prosperity and the latter violated through totalitarian force, (ii) Auschwitz and the exodus of the European Jews to Israel and America, and (iii) the expulsion of Germans directly after the war from East to West Germany. Syberberg’s analysis of the decay of European culture thus concentrates on the destruction of Prussia at the end of the first World War and the acceleration of Germany’s downfall with the Third Reich. Even Hitler Syberberg considers as a “stranger” from Austria[13] who appeared on the German political scene only to take care of the end of Prussia. And he appeared thus only through the inglorious means of democracy.

In the third part of the book which was written on the occasion of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Syberberg expresses his amazement at the turn of events during the bloodless revolution of that year but wonders whether Germany may, through its reunification, be revived through the infusion of fresh unspoiled blood from the East or whether the eastern Germans would only sink too readily into the Americanised commercial morass of the West.

The fall of Communism in 1989 seemed at first glance to usher in the possibility of a renewed cultivation of the European spirit under the reunification of East and West Germany:

The peoples awaken not from Stalinism but from Marxism as from the darkest nightmare and Europe is once again one … The lie of rational Socialism is exposed … And all the neurotic art which was based on it and all the intellectual systems of the left intellectuals will not be anymore what they were.

Syberberg thus rightly considers Marxism (and not Stalinism, as the Jews would have us think) as one of the greatest evils that Europe suffered after the French Revolution. He hopes for a new system

Where the states are founded anew according to the new law of freedom, which is not unlimited under the influence of the manipulated opinions but free, where it means being free from the pressure of intimidation and false enticements. And where democracy is not the expression of the majority, where equality does not always have to be right, but which should be represented by the necessary minority of the higher level of quality, as art, as a model, may demonstrate.

However, he is already aware that the current intelligentsia in the West are incapable of any artistic regeneration: “How can anything like freedom ever come from these men of books, of the arts, the theatre and films, or music, when they were the first victims of the re-education …” Rather “Rescue can come only from below, from the uncontaminated and the poorest, from the East.” Thus everything depends on the extent to which the newly liberated men from the East resist the degeneracy of the West:

It will all depend on how far the eastern part of Europe will have the strength to defy the western dangers, resist many enticements basically, if it frees itself from its deadly hardenings … Perhaps the East will awake to a new awareness of a clever symbiosis and the West has, at the right moment, the right people to lead back those things that were driven away to a happy union …The wealth of Eastern Europe is not what it became through Socialistic accomplishments, but what it remained, what Marxism left alone through rejection and inability.

The Marxist destruction of Prussia was accompanied in the western part of Germany by American promises of “democracy and peace as alternatives to Prussia”. What it led to however was “manifest corruption in the West and … bankruptcy in the East”. Especially, the “industrialisation of agriculture in the West [corresponded] to that of the forced collectivisation in the East” so that the agrarian basis of German culture was fully destroyed. Thus the Marxist and Capitalist schemes have together sought to destroy the vitality of Germany and “the catastrophe of Germany was only a step on the way to the world”.

The Marxist systems imposed on Germany from the Communist side as well as from the Capitalist are indeed alien forms which Germany cannot continue to live with:

For what was once born as the Holy Empire with Roman longing to go down without history in a Stalinist monstrosity of materialism, how can that ever be accepted by the people in the remnant states of an old culture. It will be decided now if once again, from the heart, after the loss of all external things, and without prosperity, the men of the west are carried along to a renewal, or if the eastern allow themselves to develop into the aesthetics of the monstrosity of our postwar history …

The reunification should be an opportunity to re-establish the old Prussian civilising spirit which originally bestowed Roman Catholic Christianity on the East, that is, Poland:

The reunification which the heart means, signifies, needs a much greater embrace of mutual benefit. It also includes the reconciliation with the Polish people over centuries … It is not the borders of 1937 which led to the last war that describe the empire of Germany, but the human culture before 1914 should be the occasion to us for helping precisely there, no matter who lives there today … Let us establish partnerships with Bohemia, the Polish inheritors of former German provinces, as preferred relatives instead of as children. It is for us not a question of the men, the accidental, but of the land … Without the Poles no Prussia, without Germany no Christian Poland.

As Syberberg points out, the Prussian ethos has never been marked by the revanchism of Marxist ideologies since in Prussia “many families live together well as neighbours of former enemies”.

Syberberg considers the model of Prussian Germany as an essential one for the cultural development of the nation and German music in particular as a quintessential form of its art: “always where this art came closest to [music] in Germany it was incomparably one with itself. Music in things, in pictures, in words, in houses, in Nature”. The development of the classical art of the past was possible since it emulated with humility an ideal in an imperfect world: “the classical epochs, independently of the misery of the individual martyrdom of the creators of their art, understood their artistic ideal as the world claim of spiritual happiness.” On the other hand, “The art today is the model of the poverty of a democratic reality praised as the best of all worlds, which masks its lies in such a form that it must preach the art of ugliness as truth”. Thus the modern Germans would do well to bear in their mind the image of Prussia as a “counter-image” of the democratic present, as a “phantom image of art, a purity of an entirely different existence”.

Syberberg’s final exhortations to his readers are thus to recognise the genuine sources of art in Nature and the homeland. Only thus can Germans revive the old traditions, and the old artistic ideals of beauty, truth and goodness. As a method of cultural regeneration, Syberberg recommends a return to “Heimat, Reich, Nation, Provinzen, Deutschland”, to a “unifying community, an organic community of people, state and nature”. The destiny of the Germans is a higher one than the democratic downfall to which they have been condemned by the Marxists and Americans. For the Germans are, in Syberberg’s words’ “the men who sacrifice their life to the eternity of art” and were merely used by the world-spirit, which

goes over corpses and art burns up the world, from the victims of Christianisation and those of the Crusades, through slave-trade and witch trials, with the murders of the Protestants by the Catholics and vice-versa and to the conquests of the colonialists. In the end the eagle shakes the dust from off its wings and flies towards the sun … renewing itself for new deeds.

It is true that the modern German has been re-educated and sated with material prosperity and forced to give up everything that was once good and valid”. However, Syberberg reminds us that

they are also rich in quite another way, for the experiences from the humiliating defeat, from the richness of the suffering through fear of bombs, and from the laments for fallen sons and fathers, and from the distress of sacrificed daughters and wives and lost lands …

The consciousness of the loss of their own natural character must re-emerge in the newly reunified Germany to liberate the Germans from the American colonisation, primarily the “anti-fascist” indoctrination of Adorno’s cultural Marxism, which began at the end of the last war:

The Germans must, and it seems as if they are not allowed to, re-establish the lost empires also from inside, if they wish to make a virtue of their distress, to establish the loss as a virtue of art. But the loss of precisely this virtue made them poor and needy. And the Marshall Plan of re-education enticed them to alien fields of art. It will depend on what they make of an aesthetics of the excitements of the cheap and quick and comfortable, in the depth of the space also of the lost provinces of their heart, secretly certain of the unbroken mission.

We see from Syberberg’s lament for Prussian Germany that, if Europe as a whole should be revived from its post-war moribund stupor, it must, at all costs, resist the present American control of the continent through financial and military assistance that began with the Marshall Plan and it must return to the native ways of thought and feeling of the Europeans that are based not on mechanical technology and trade but on the natural orders, aristocratic and religious, of society. Syberberg’s analyses of art and society in Europe after the war reveal that the principal cultural dilemma of today is indeed one wherein the German and European question – based on the possibility of an artistic regeneration of a reunified Germany and of the larger European community in general – is pitted against the withering Jewish-American international economic enterprise. The impossibility of developing true culture under a democratic system is patent from the commercial, immoral and eventually criminal foundations of this system. True art can develop only under a system that considers the land as the source of its culture and whose rulers resemble the royal patrons of the past who, as Syberberg points out, were not men characterised by “envy and hatred” as those in power today are. The liberation of Europe from its present Jewish-American rule is thus a precondition for its re-emergence as the leading civilised, and civilising, power in a world that is threatened today with the globalised stultification of mankind.


[1]  Talk delivered in Spring 2011 at the conference of the Danish Society for Free Historical Research, Fjerretslev, Denmark.

[2]  The Neoconservative movement in America, headed by people like Irving Kristol (one of whose articles was entitled ”Memoirs of a Trotskyist,” New York Times Magazine, January 23, 1977) and Norman Podhoretz, includes many former Trotskyist Communists who moved from “the left” to “the right” when they detected strains of nationalism in the Stalinist Soviet Union and anti-Semitism among the negroes of America as well during the civil rights movement of the sixties. Their adoption of “conservatism” as their political banner was designed to divest classical Conservatism of its inherent national-cultural tendencies and to transform the Jewish leaders of what Max Weber had (in the 1920 edition of his Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism) called “pariah capitalism” into a new proletarian “elite”.

[3]  See the Preface to the forthcoming English edition of this work.

[4]  For the preponderant influence of Jewish “cultural Marxist” thinkers on modern American society, see Kevin B. Macdonald’s The Culture of Critique: An evolutionary analysis of Jewish involvement in twentieth century intellectual and political movements, Westport, CT: Praeger, 1988.

[5]  “Mit solchen Sätzen, mit solchen Gedanken, mit solchen dumpfen Verschwörungstheorien ist, man erinnere sich, die Bücherverbrennung von 1933, ist die ‘Endlösung’ von 1942 vorbereitet und ermöglicht worden … Sie sind kein abstruses Geschwätz, sie sind verbrecherisch”.

[6]  This is of course the goal  of Marxism as well

[7]  This explains why the German world-view was especially targeted after the war as an intolerable obstacle to the continuance of capitalist domination.

[8]  All citations from this work are from M. Horkheimer and T. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, tr. J. Cumming, N.Y.: Continuum, 1982.

[9]   All translations from Syberberg’s work are mine.

[10]  T. Adorno, Philosophy of modern music, tr. A.G. Mitchell and W.V. Blomster, N.Y.: The Seabury Press, 1973, p.41f.

[11]   In Prisms, MIT Press, 1955.

[12]   The first Executive Director of the American branch of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, the American Congress for Cultural Freedom, was Irving Kristol (1920-2009), who has been called the “godfather” of American Neoconservatism (see p.1n above).

[13]  Syberberg, as a champion of the Prussian state, tends to discount the great contributions of the Habsburgs to the cultural development of Europe.

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