D O C U M E N T 8 3 F R E E D O M O F A R T 9 3 83. “For the Freedom of Art” [Einstein 1925v] Published 1 October 1925 In: Berliner Tageblatt, 1 October 1925, EE. Art must be free, regardless of what worldview or ethos it is rooted in. Only then can it fulfill its mission, to lead humans to the creative shared experience of grand emotions. Once again, this freedom appears to be threatened, possibly more seriously than ever. For, today, it is not a matter of anti-art attacks by private groups as in the days of struggle of the Lex Heinze.[1] This time the danger arises from the existing laws or from a pervasive questionable interpretation of these laws.— The right of laws to protect the constitution of the state against violent attacks is not to be disputed. However, it cannot be the role of the state or its institutions to prosecute convic- tions, regardless of whether they affirm or deny the state in its current form—nor the expression of any view so long as it takes an artistic form and, consequently, can be “revolutionary” only in the general sense that excludes the idea of a specific planned action. However, the cases are multiplying in which an “anti-state” stance, even in art, is being prosecuted. Besides the sections of the penal code dealing with high trea- son and incitement to class hatred, action is being taken above all based on the Law for the Protection of the Republic.[2] And it is not only the lower courts that are prosecuting artistic work: leading the way is the Constitutional Court for the Pro- tection of the Republic, setting an unfortunate example. A book by Bertha Lask, the historical peasant drama Thomas Münzer, was confiscated.[3] Charges were brought against the poet Johannes R. Becher because various verses in a collection of his poems that glorify insurrection were taken out of context.[4] A court ordered the confiscation of young Kläber’s collection of sketches, “Barricades on the Ruhr.”[5] In addition, perhaps the worst is the sentenc- ing by the Constitutional Court in Leipzig of the actor Rolf Gärtner to the scandal- ous punishment of one year and three months in prison,[6] although this actor did nothing other than recite, at an authorized communist revolution celebration in
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