European craftsmen figured out how to make porcelain in the early 18th century in Dresden, Germany, and since then, the white medium has been the hallmark of prestige and opulence.
But not many people know the German Nazis were also obsessed with the white ceramic and till this day, there is a serious market for porcelain made by the World War II Jews in death camps.
Edmund de Waal, a British artist, spoke at length about the dark history of the white porcelain and discovered the Nazis were apparently extremely fond of porcelain. So much so that, they made their own factory named “Porzellan Manufaktur Allach” in 1935.
The love of porcelain drove the Nazis to move their factory’s operation to Dachau concentration camp, after the production at Allach came to a halt due to the war. Artisans and masons were handpicked from the prisoners and forced into slavery to craft figurines for the German elite.
“Birthdays and weddings and the birth of a child to SS members all warranted presents of Allach porcelain,” said De Waal. “And there were porcelain bowls for presentation at the party rallies at Nuremberg, sporting medals, plaques to celebrate the Anschluss, a presentation vase to Hitler for his 50th birthday in 1939, huge white vases for the niches of the Chancellery. Who could have foreseen such demand for porcelain?”
The most coveted of the figurines was “Die Fechter,” a small, white statue of a muscled young man holding an epee.
Most of the figures were white, according to the express wish of Heinrich Himmler, because the Nazis believed white porcelain was “the embodiment of the German soul.”