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Opening Preview of DEGENERATE! Hitler's War on Modern Art
By Jewish Museum Milwaukee (JMM)

Hitler and the Nazis used art as a tool of propaganda to sway public opinion and build support for their nefarious narrative. They deemed Modern Art to be the result of genetic inferiority and society’s moral decline, labeling the artwork it produced as ‘Degenerate’. 

Under the control of the Nazi regime, works of art across Europe were confiscated in the thousands.  

Some were destroyed; some were sold to help build their war machine; others were used as propaganda, promoting the idea that certain perspectives and people were ‘degenerate’ and ‘unworthy of life’.  

This exhibit tells their story.

Explore artists, movements, events and outcomes of being branded ‘Degenerate,’ and the role it played in public indoctrination to Nazi ideology.


7:00 pm –  Appetizer, Dessert and Wine Reception
7:25 pm – Welcome by JMM Executive Director, Patti Sherman-Cisler
7:30 pm – Presentation: ‘Weimar Culture: Promise and Precariousness’ by Peter Staudenmaier, Associate Professor of Modern German History, Marquette University
8:15 pm – Exhibit Tour 


DATE: Thursday, February 23, 2023
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Jewish Museum Milwaukee
COST: Museum Members $10 | Nonmembers $18



Thank you to all of the donors who made this exhibit possible. A special thanks to the following major donors:
Brico Fund
Catholic Financial Life
Suzy Ettinger*
Linda & Eli Frank
Harri Hoffmann Family Foundation
Alan and Susan Selig
Marjorie and Jonathan Margolies 

This project is supported in part by grants from the Milwaukee Arts Board and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

A special thanks to Kevin and Meg Kinney for their generosity of time, expertise and art. 

* Donor Advised Fund of the Milwaukee Jewish Community Foundation

Image: Detail of Max Beckmann, The Yawners, from the portfolio Faces (Gesichter), 1918 Milwaukee Art Museum, Maurice and Esther Leah Ritz Collection © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn