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Nazi favorite reassessed

July 25, 2006|From the Associated Press

SCHWERIN, Germany — Works by sculptor Arno Breker, favored by the Nazis for his monumental, classically inspired figures, has gone on display here amid controversy over Breker's links to Adolf Hitler and Breker's flourishing career in the Third Reich.

City officials say the exhibition presents a chance to reexamine the work of a talented artist whose career was clouded by his association with Hitler and the Nazi leader's favorite architect, Albert Speer.

But 30 local artists, gallery owners and art historians appealed to the city in a letter to cancel the exhibit. And Klaus Staeck, head of the Academy of Arts in Berlin, canceled his own exhibition scheduled for next year in Schwerin in protest.

Hermann Junghans, Schwerin's deputy mayor, said extensive documentation alongside the 70 works would prevent any whitewash.

"The show is absolutely necessary to have a discussion about Breker, but we don't assume that we're going to be the ones to end the debate," Junghans said in an interview.

"It was clear to us that this would be controversial; that's why the decision didn't come easily. Everyone will see that we are far too critical of Breker for this to be any kind of rehabilitation."

Breker died in 1991 at age 90.

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