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Saint Mary's Removes Statue by Nazi-Approved Sculptor

March 2, 2021
 
 

Saint Mary's College, in California, has removed a statue by a Nazi-approved sculptor from the courtyard of its art museum and placed in storage, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The statue of a boy and falcon is not inherently pro-Nazi and was created in 1953. But the sculptor, Fritz von Graevenitz, was approved by the Nazis and worked for them during the 1930s and 1940s.

Margaret Kasimatis, interim executive vice president, said, "We have removed it temporarily to give us an opportunity to learn more," adding, "We intend to use this moment as an opportunity to hold community conversations about the artist and the historical and political context in which he lived, as well as broader ethical questions about public art, including those of context, intent, and impact."

A student petition called for the statue's removal. "We demand that this statue be taken down, effective immediately. We call on the school to make a public apology specifically to those that were and still are impacted by the ideals of the Nazi regime that Fritz von Graevenitz promoted. Alongside an apology, we demand an explanation of how this statue was attained and why it was chosen to be displayed. We ask that the statue is replaced by a piece that celebrates Jewish culture and prosperity," the petition says.

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