What happened to literature and artifacts of nations occupied by Germany?

Greetings to Indy and the team,

What happened to artifacts, literature, and other pieces of cultural significance under Nazi occupation and were there disparities in the repression of culture and intellectualism in some occupied states compared to other ones besides the Soviet Union? Could you also expound on how most of Germany’s archives were apparently lost in WW2 and what these contained? I love the show, thank you all for your entertaining and impressive work.


Great question,

It is kind of hard to find English sources on that but the National Socialists did put in “Reichskulturkammers” which was a move to ensure all literature favored them. Artist who did not become members could not practice arts, if they did there were huge restrictions. Also because of their insane race laws large groups were banned anyway. The sold it as forcing artists to become part of the “Volk”/People (like in Volkswagen) again. But basically it was just part of the indoctrination campaign and rewriting history by making e.g. the old Dutch Masters like Rembrandt Germanic heroes and putting a focus on the Dutch-English trade wars in the past.

Of course the situation was much worse in countries that were seen by the Germans as “subhuman/Unternmenschen”.

There is an argument that Hitler being a failed artist might be one of the causes but I have a hunch they wanted to control the media anyway.

The were scared of real artists and any “free thinkers” because their standpoints were totally and utterly illogical. So instead of being able to argue they just told everyone what to think and what not to think. and just kept repeating their lunatic messages.

They took control of all media and artistic expressions .

HCPO: The Perpetrators and Their Methods - Reichskulturkammer | Department of Financial Services (ny.gov)