An illustrated guide to ‘degenerates’:
jews, bolshevists and other undesirable geniuses
By John Minnion
Contributing editor Sonja Wirwohl
First edition Checkmate Books 2004 (limited edition of 1000)
2nd Edition Checkmate Books 2006
Hitler’s List was a long one. There was to be no place in the new Nazi Reich for anybody or anything that threatened the purity of his vision. Being an artist himself, he knew beyond doubt that abstract art was ‘degenerate’. And modern design, jazz, atonal music, psychotherapy, Marxism, even quantum physics and Bambi. These things were a sign of ‘Jewish infection’ of the pure body of Aryan culture – or they were ‘bolshevist’, which amounted to the same thing. So the culture needed to be ‘cleansed’ of the people who practised them.
Most people with lists like Hitler’s never get the chance to take them further than the nearest psychiatric ward, but his obsessions were unleashed on a civilisation. Chagall, Freud, Klemperer, Koestler, Einstein, Primo Levi, Thomas Mann, Billy Wilder, Paul Klee, Hannah Arendt, Peter Lorre, Roman Polanski, Kurt Weill… all were on Hitler’s List. They and their work survived, and thrived, because Hitler – ultimately – didn’t. But other great talents lost everything: their jobs, their reputations, their lives. This book of portraits and life-stories is a tribute to all these ‘undesirables’ and their genius.