Herbert Von Karajan’s Bust Removed from Theater Aachen Due to Nazi Affiliation

By Francisco Salazar

The Theater Aachen in Germany has taken down a bust of Herbert von Karajan due to his past ties to the Nazi party.

According to Elena Tzavara, the theater’s director, the pressure to take down the statue and be more critical of the legendary conductor was growing. The Theater Aachen was where Karajan began his career and was named Music Director in 1935. He remained with the theater until 1942.

Karajan’s statue will be replaced by one of Mozart.

Throughout his lifetime Karajan maintained silence about his Nazi Party membership. According to recent scholarship Karajan joined the Nazi Party twice. The first time was on April 8, 1933 in Salzburg and he paid the admission fee, received the membership number 1607525 and moved to Ulm. However, this accession was never formally carried out.

Then in 1935, Karajan rejoined the Nazi Party in Aachen and received the membership number 3430914. After the annexation of Austria, the responsible Reich Treasurer of the Nazi Party discovered Karajan’s double membership in Munich and declared the first accession invalid. Throughout his career Karajan “never hesitated to open his concerts with the Nazi favorite ‘Horst-Wessel-Lied‘, but “always maintained he joined strictly for career reasons.”