9 4 D O C U M E N T 8 3 F R E E D O M O F A R T Stuttgart, non-confiscated poems with revolutionary content and led a spoken per- formance in which the liberation of political prisoners was depicted, simply by primitive artistic methods. The fact that a person who did nothing other than speak some verses that are generally disseminated in print and not banned, a person whose model character the court itself recognized, should receive one and a quarter years imprisonment is shocking! However, the important thing here is not the expression of empathy for the mis- fortune of one individual artist. Nor is it to adopt the ideas of the party persecuted along with him. Rather, it is important to liberate artistic creation as such from the risk of further interference! What happens today to those who are attempting to cre- ate artistic value based on their convictions—regardless of whether one considers them successful—, can also impact those with different opinions tomorrow. Where should the boundaries be drawn, how should art be allowed to shape political be- lief? Doesn’t a spirit of rebellion against social and governmental institutions live in hundreds of works and, in fact, in the best of them? Who can assure us today that at some time prosecutors and courts will not also take action against Schiller’s The Robbers and Tell, against Büchner’s Danton, or Hauptmann’s The Weavers,[7] and even throw those who bring such works to life on the stage into jail? Organizations of completely nonpolitical character, men and women of every political persuasion, but united in the conviction that continued development of our culture absolutely requires free artistic expression, as signatories hereby protest against the persecution of artists and works of art. This must not continue! The honor of the state is also at risk! A state that does not freely ensure the autonomy of art, like religion, and the practice of both, cannot ask to be considered a civilized state. If this is wrongful application of the law, the responsible authorities have the ob- ligation to put an end to this practice through unambiguous declarations. If the re- sponsible authorities see in the proceedings described the proper interpretation of the law, it is necessary to reform it as quickly as possible! We call on the broadest public to support these demands. Those of you who see with us a supreme good in the freedom of art, raise your voices everywhere! Demonstrate in a united manner to the authorities of the state that it is the will of the people: Freedom for all artistic work![8]
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