© Britta Scherer /STdT

It was the rural population that held the “racial” future of the German Volk according to R. Walther Darré, Reich Minister for Food and Agriculture. In various publications he propagated the blood-and-soil ideology that placed the peasants at its center, regarding them as suited for “species-appropriate” reproduction. Requiring a positive image for identification, Darré founded the Reich School Burg Neuhaus to popularize this concept. The young people from the peasantry recruited for the institution matched the ideal of the “Nordic race.” Darré commissioned the Viennese photographer Anna Koppitz and the Berlin sports photographer Hanns Spudich to take pictures of the Reich School’s trainees, which he used to illustrate an endless number of propaganda publications.

© Britta Scherer / STdT

The exhibition explores the use of these images in books, newspapers, and magazines of the time that were published by Darré, his publishing house, or within his sphere. The material shows a methodical endeavor to create a visual language, made possible by the close collaboration between Darré, Koppitz, and Spudich. The case study offers insights into the ways of which a chief Nazi ideologue used photography as an instrument for underpinning and disseminating his theses.

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