Fritz Cremer iconic communist sculptor from East Germany

Fritz Kremer. Sculpture Uprising or Fighter for Freedom, 1964-1965
Sculpture Uprising or Fighter for Freedom, 1964-1965

Fritz Cremer (born October 22, 1906 died September 1, 1993) is a famous sculptor from Germany who worked in the twentieth century. Fritz Kremer is also known as a talented graphic artist and illustrator who took part in the anti-Nazi movement. The master’s work is devoted to social, anti-fascist and political themes, and the sculptures by Fritz Kremer are made in a mixed style this is a kind of combination of expressionism, realism and classics.

Fritz Kremer. Sculptural portrait of Karl Marx, 1967
Fritz Cremer. Sculptural portrait of Karl Marx, 1967

Biography of Fritz Cremer

Fritz Cremer did not know his father. The boy was born on October 22, 1906 in the family of upholsterer and decorator Albert Kremer, who died a year after the birth of his son. Having recovered from the death of her husband, Christina Kremer moved with two children from Arnsberg to Essen and remarried. Large households and the eternal lack of money created a depressing and depressed atmosphere in the family, and Fritz, who “suffocated in the suffocating philistinism,” left home at the age of 15.

In 1921, Fritz Cremer became an apprentice to a marble maker, and in 1922 he successfully passed the evening exams for a course in church sculpture at the Folkwang-Shule art school. At the same time, he attended a course on plastic sculpture at the local Academy. The young man was lucky with his teachers, but with special warmth he always remembered Will Lammert, whom he ranked not only among his favorite mentors, but also among his best friends.

Sculpture Oh, Germany, Mournful Mother, 1960-1967
Sculpture Oh, Germany, Mournful Mother, 1960-1967

In 1926, he graduated from college, accumulated 300 marks

He worked for three years in the workshop, went to conquer Berlin. Fritz Kremer succeeded having entered the Higher School of Fine Arts in Charlottenburg, he received a scholarship and got into the class of Wilhelm Gerstel. It was a difficult historical period the Nazis came to power in Germany and began to purge dissident citizens.

Fritz Kremer, who joined the Communist Party in 1929, initiated a protest after expelling Heinrich Mann and Käthe Kollwitz from the Academy. A daring act threatened with serious consequences expulsion from school for political reasons. Gerstel helped Fritz escape punishment by securing a study trip for him to Paris. This allowed Kremer to continue his studies, receive a diploma and then go to work at the Gerstel workshop.

Fritz Kremer. Sculptural memorial Women from Ravensbrück, 1958-1965
Fritz Cremer. Sculptural memorial Women from Ravensbrück, 1958-1965

1935-1936 became iconic for Fritz Kremer

He took his first steps as an independent sculptor and made his debut with a large-scale bronze bas-relief “Mourning Women”, also known as “Gestapo”. The theme of motherhood, namely a grieving mother and a young man suffering from wounds and dying, runs like a red line through the work of the sculptor in the pre-war and war periods. For the work of the “Gestapo” Fritz was awarded a state prize and a trip to Rome, where in 1937-1938. Kremer worked at the Villa Massimo. Despite his anti-fascist beliefs, Fritz Kremer went to serve in the Wehrmacht artillery troops, where he was drafted in 1940.

In a depressed state of mind, the sculptor set foot on the lands of Greece, the cradle of ancient culture. To his delight, after a while, friends from the academy achieved the release of the sculptor from military service, and he again left for Rome to improve his skills. A year later, Kremer had to return to the ranks of the fighting army in the Balkans, but there he voluntarily surrendered.

Sculpture Memorial in memory of the heroes of Buchenwald, 1952-1958
Sculpture Memorial in memory of the heroes of Buchenwald, 1952-1958

When the war ended, Fritz Kremer moved to Vienna with his wife.

Here he creates several major works at once “Fighter for Freedom”, figures “In memory of the executed communists of Austria” and “Monument to the Victims of Fascism” for the memorial complex at the Vienna cemetery. Thanks to the efforts of fellow Communist Party members, the sculptor became a professor and head of the sculpture department at the Academy of Applied Arts. True to his political convictions, Fritz Kremer joined the Socialist Party of Germany, and in 1950 he moved to East Berlin, in the GDR. Here he headed the Art Academy of Berlin, often went on business trips to the USSR, visited Egypt and China.

In socialist Germany, Fritz Kremer was respected, not censored or criticized. The master passed away on September 1, 1993 and found his last refuge in Berlin at the Pankow III cemetery.

Fritz Kremer. Sculpture Uprising II, 1983
Fritz Cremer. Sculpture Uprising II, 1983
The most famous sculptures by Fritz Kremer Fritz

Kremer’s sculptures, bas-reliefs and memorial complexes were installed in Germany, Austria, the USA, as well as in former concentration camps Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Ebense and Ravensbrück. Unfortunately, more than 50 works of the master were destroyed as a result of the bombing of Berlin in 1945. The best works of the sculptor include:

  1. “Memorial in memory of the heroes of Buchenwald” (1952-1958) the sculptural group was created by order of the government of the GDR, who wished to perpetuate the feat of the Buchenwald prisoners who rose to the uprising on April 11, 1945.
  2. “Oh, Germany, mournful Mother!” (1960-1967) a monument created in honor of the prisoners of the German sector of the Mauthausen concentration camp.
  3. Ravensbrück Memorial (1958-1965) Fritz Kremer’s authorship belongs to the “mother” sculptural group of the memorial complex. Women from Ravensbrück carry a child who has died of hunger on a stretcher.
  4. A sculptural portrait of Karl Marx (1967) installed on the territory of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.
  5. “Uprising” or “Freedom Fighter” (1964-1965) GDR donated a bronze statue to the UN in 1975. A work dedicated to peoples fighting for freedom stands in a park in front of the organization’s headquarters in New York.
Artist at work
Artist at work
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