Fairfield’s Inspired Writers Series will feature a presentation by author Jonathan Petropoulos on his book titled “Artists Under Hitler: Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany.”

The lecture is slated to take place on Monday, Feb. 23, at the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery and is made possible by the collaborative efforts of the MFA in Creative Writing, the departments of visual and performing arts, history, Judaic studies and the Learning for a Lifetime Program.

According to the book’s promotional materials, these 10 German artists “illuminate the complex cultural history of Nazi Germany, while individually they provide haunting portraits of people facing excruciating choices and grave moral questions.”

The German artists featured in the presentation will essentially be divided into two categories: those who failed to find accommodation within the regime, a group including Walter Gropius, Paul Hindemith, Gottfried Benn, Ernst Barlach, Emil Nolde; and those who were officially accepted, comprised of Richard Strauss, Gustaf Gründgens, Leni Riefenstahl, Arno Breker and Albert Speer.

Petropoulos’ historical text was met with an enthusiastic response from critics, including Kirkus Reviews, which hailed the work as “a persuasive, nuanced and surprising picture of German culture under the Nazis.”

Aside from this particular work, Petropoulos, a professor of European history at Claremont McKenna College, is the author of four other books addressing the tumultuous art scene during the Third Reich.

“I think it definitely sounds interesting,” said Robert McDonough ’18. “Especially given what’s happening in the world right now,” he added, referencing the escalating anti-Semitic tensions across Europe.

In January, a gunman opened fire on a Parisian kosher supermarket, killing four Jewish shoppers and seriously injuring four others. Just last weekend, over 300 graves in a Jewish cemetery in Paris were defaced with swastikas and Nazi slogans.

Senior Caitlin Delorey agreed with McDonough and said she might attend the event. “You never really hear about art during that time period,” Delorey said.

The presentation is free for the public. The final Inspired Writers Series lecture will take place on May 7 and will feature Julia Glass’s “And the Dark Sacred Night.”

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