Brazil’s culture minister fired after echoing Goebbels

Brazil’s culture minister has been sacked after using parts of a speech by Nazi Germany’s propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels in a video.

In the clip posted on the ministry’s Twitter page, Roberto Alvim detailed an award for “heroic” and “national” art.

Lohengrin by Wagner, Hitler’s favourite composer, played in the background. Earlier, Alvim said the now-deleted video was a “rhetorical coincidence”.

Right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro said the speech had been “unfortunate”.

“I reiterate our rejection of totalitarian and genocidal ideologies, such as Nazism and communism, as well as any inference to them. We also express our full and unrestricted support for the Jewish community, of which we’re friends and share many common values,” the president said on Twitter.

In the six-minute video detailing the National Arts Awards, Alvim said: “The Brazilian art of the next decade will be heroic and will be national, will be endowed with great capacity for emotional involvement… deeply linked to the urgent aspirations of our people, or else it will be nothing.”

Parts of it were identical to a speech quoted in the book Joseph Goebbels: A Biography, by German historian Peter Longerich, who has written several works on the Holocaust.

“The German art of the next decade will be heroic, it will be steely-romantic, it will be factual and completely free of sentimentality, it will be national with great pathos and binding, or it will be nothing.”

Goebbels led the Ministry of Enlightenment and Propaganda designed to brainwash people into obeying the Nazis and idolising leader Adolf Hitler. Its methods included censorship of the press and control of radio broadcasts, as well as control of culture and arts.

The Brazilian Israelite Confederation said: “To emulate [Goebbels’] view… is a frightening sign of his vision of culture, which must be combatted and contained.”

It called for Alvim’s immediate removal, adding: “Brazil, which sent brave soldiers to combat Nazism on European soil, doesn’t deserve it.”

related

Subscribe to EJC newsletter

Get EJC's bi-weekly newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

browse by community