The shocking experiences of Willi Baumeister and his family during World War II from August 1939 to May 1945 (compiled by his daughter Felicitas Baumeister from Willi Baumeister's diary entries - indented and in quotation marks - and from her own recollections).
August 1, 1939 to December 31, 1939
Despite constant threats through the National Socialists, the family spends pleasant summer days in Switzerland in August 1939:
Our last days in Locarno are especially lovely.
But directly following is the diary entry of impressions on the return trip in Constance:
August 28, 1939
High political tension? Strange excitement in the public.
September 1, 1939
Drive over the very beautiful Lake Constance to Hagnau and the Bissier Family.
Julius Bissier reports that he heard one of Hitler's speeches after which Poland and Germany entered into martial actions.
What will happen next? Well, outbreak of war, horrible consequences.
September 3, 1939
(Return to Stuttgart)
Sandbags before the basement windows in the streets, state of war with England and France
November 9, 1939
Attack on Hitler in Munich last night. Explosion followed ten minutes after Hitler had left the Bürgerbrau Cellar pub.
November 27, 1939
Rasch, Wuppertal, accepts my wall-picture suggestions ... for the Herberts factory.
It is very pleasant for our family and important that the Wuppertal architect Heinz Rasch continually acquires pictures from Baumeister as is the connection to Kurt Herberts, the owner of the varnish factory. Baumeister receives commissions from Dr. Herberts for the design of the staircase walls in the planned laboratory building, including the production of the wall pictures and the painting of the cabinets and boxes.
December 24, 1939
Christmas Eve is celebrated ... Harmonious evening despite war. The children's joy lets one forget.
On the one hand, executing the wall pictures and researching painting techniques interests Baumeister, on the other hand, the time spent on them is at the expense of his own work, which is especially important to him. About the lack of time and materials, Baumeister asks himself the following question:
January 23, 1940
How should it subsequently proceed with painting? We are glad that we have enough to eat and appreciate receiving 25 pounds of potatoes from Uncle Kämmerer.
Between descriptions of the war in the diary Baumeister enters the following:
April 19, 1940
Three days of sun suddenly turn the trees green - the cherry tree blossoms. One would like to be happy about spring.
May 3, 1940
... after a longer break, again did my "own" [work].
The message that nothing in Paris was destroyed by the war greatly relieves Baumeister's thoughts about his French friends and all the art treasures. Baumeister is frequently in Wuppertal for discussions with Dr. Herberts about the publication of the painting techniques research that relates to the wall pictures Baumeister produced. He is also to essentially write the text.
On June 23, 1940 Baumeister reports on nightly air bombardment in the distance. There are frequent air-raid warnings so that the family must often be in the basement.
On July 5th we learned of Paul Klee's death from the wife of architect Bodo Rasch:
May 7, 1940
The wife of architect Bodo Rasch (brother of Heinz Rasch) delivers the news by telephone that artist Paul Klee passed away in Bern. She received a short death notice from a Swiss Consulate officer.
(Nothing appears about it in German newspapers)
Paul Klee was an extraordinary human and an excellent painter. The best painter of his generation in Germany and beyond that the best painter of the expressionist era, even if he isn't entirely part of it. Exceptional in formal and content-related ideas, exceptional in color expression. His method must have been amazing. In a certain sense equivalent to the most significant artists: Picasso, Braque.
Baumeister works intensively on the wall-picture project, which he executes in the artist hall of the Applied Art School (now the Staatliche Academy of Fine Arts) on the Weissenhof. This despite the war events with nightly air-raid warnings, destruction of houses, and reports of casualties. Sixteen pictures are completed despite strong depression. Heinz Rasch comes to Stuttgart to take them to Dr. Kurt Herberts.
December 24, 1940
On Christmas Eve we had a lovely, harmonious evening. Baumeister painted various backdrops for the Punch and Judy show.
On December 31st, Margrit and Willi Baumeister contemplate the past and coming year.
In the past year I was very busy carrying out Dr. Herberts's commissions. The old wall-painting techniques are interesting...
January 1, 1941
What will it bring? Since Sept. 1939 war, food coupons, coal scarcity, blackouts, night time air raids, etc. According to the Führer's speech the war ought to end this year?
February 13-14, 1941
A little work in the studio. Resuming after the often weeklong interruptions of artistic activity makes itself unpleasantly noticeable. To achieve good results it would be quite necessary to work constantly. Why paint and to what end? Everything into the abyss of I. Never public.
March 10, 1941
... Because there are no longer any canvases, I paint in small format on pasteboard. It is beautifully quiet in the studio. On the other hand, it is not easy to withstand the depression of this period. This for seven years now. Presumably I can never again show my pictures in exhibitions. I thus work exclusively for myself alone. The artistic work is certainly primary: for itself. But in practice it is extraordinarily hard (in works to be kept secret) being completely isolated. Added to all this is the consideration of who will take proper care of the pictures after [my] dying, until they can once again be shown? Will they, which were produced with total dedication, sink without resonance, disappear?
There is also the slight danger that they will be destroyed already in the present war by a chance bomb from planes if the house is hit. Will I ever see exhibitions of my pictures? The official exhibitions only show "broadsheets" for the nation. No trace of artistic impulse or form. No breath of the freedom of art and the artist. Intense oppression. No light.
September 1, 1941
The third war year begins.
On October 7, 1941 the family travels to Italy. Dr. Herberts provides the visas. We visit Verona, Venice, Bologna, and Florence and have a great time.
October 19, 1941
Despite the doom of the war we enjoy such travel delight.
January 1, 1942
Malgré tout. (Despite everything.)
At the beginning of January 1942 Baumeister had to bear the death of his brother Hans. He undertakes research for Dr. Kurt Herberts. This concerns the painting of stone surfaces with motifs from the Ice Age. Baumeister presumes that at that time humans used no binding agents for painting, which proves to be true. Between the diary notes of war events and the work for Herberts is to be read:
Our philodendron plant is gigantic, has 27 large leaves.
At the end of January 1942 Baumeister travels to Wuppertal for a final discussion about the Ice-Age publication that now is called the 'Anfänge der Malerei, die Fragen ihrer Maltechniken und das Rätsel ihrer Erhaltung' (Beginnings of Painting, Questions of Painting Techniques and the Riddle of Preservation). Baumeister suggests a new publication: 'Malerei aus der Maltechnik geboren' (Painting Borne from Painting Technique).
February 28, 1942
At H. Rasch's strongest insistence against my opinion, the Runner, which was produced many years ago, must be included in the publication on painting- technique and preservation issues since he esteems this picture very much.
Reconstruction of Ice-Age paintings from the east Spanish cultural circle, various binding agents, blood, honey, etc.
August 6, 1942
Food on trips (in inns and hotels) is becoming increasingly poor. For soup, a 50-gram food-product coupon must be paid. Overcrowded trains, in part the passengers climb through the windows ...
... After perpetual interruptions it takes considerable concentration to resume the earlier artistic work again ... a lack of time [in exchange] for the improvement of the result. (The would-be painter as for ages). What's more is the time consumption to procure increasingly rare materials, paints, etc. ... twelve days now without heating since there is no longer any coal in the house.
We are greatly worried about our house since one hears about the heavy air attacks on Lübeck, the Ruhr area, and Cologne. Despite the poor living conditions Baumeister sows christmas rose seeds and plants spirea and oxslip. 1942 proceeds with a great deal of work for Dr. Herberts. In September 1942 architect Rasch brings a printed copy of the book: 'Anfänge der Malerei, ihre Maltechniken und das Rätsel der Erhaltung' (Beginnings of Painting, its Painting Techniques, and the Riddle of Preservation).
November 3, 1942
Fighting in the east in Stalingrad on the Volga ...
Stuttgart is bombed. Since fire makes the main station unusable, people are forced to leave via the suburbs.
December 22, 1942
Heavy fighting in Don Bogen, Stalingrad.
December 24, 42
Christmas Eve festive and full of serious thoughts. The children very cheerful ... Work on simple dark pictures with simple forms of sculptural mass.
December 31, 1942
New Year's Eve. In earlier times one spent it in cheerful company. For many years now in the most intimate circles, I await the New Year chime most often alone. This evening, too. The four of us together, enjoyed a bottle of wine of meager stock, the children reading and looking through the new conversation lexicon, which is very instructive. Margrit and the children say goodnight at ten o'clock. Now I gather together the pictures I painted over the year in the living room. They lean against chairs and I preside as judge over my year's activity. 33 pictures all on cardboard except for 2 on canvas.
At the beginning of the year started a code word-like type [of picture] distinguished by an "African style." Black figures or black figures painted with mixed colors on white ground. Some compositions veer into color. Main picture: 100 x 81 multi-figured picture, yellow horizon above, otherwise white ground. Then positive and negative form pictures; between the two some compositions in a strong, painterly style. Then hyroglyph pictures [sic] with ultramarine colored balls almost like 1941. Towards the end of the year black, sculpturally modeled figures on dark, black/slate-gray ground, looking partially like iron plates.
1942 End of the Year
In total 45 pictures will have been completed. Much time was lost with stays in Wuppertal. The production is going very badly since there is hardly any oil painting any longer. Besides that Dr. Herberts increasingly wants me to move to Wuppertal. To begin with, giving up the lovely milieu here is inconceivable. The war has an increasingly decisive effect. Purchasable goods are growing sparser. More and more people are being militarily "registered." There are only armament employees and soldiers as the main thing. Everyday life takes only last priority. The fear of a large air attack worries the Stuttgart population. When will it happen? Margrit and the children are healthy, Margrit who manages it all bravely, is somewhat weaker in the nerves.
January 29, 1943
Heroic fighting for Stalingrad. Battles for power ...
End of the heroic battle in Stalingrad ...
February 5, 1943
Suddenly I'm losing lots of hair and the rest is turning white ... the reason is probably food but also psychological causes since one worries about the war situation.
Baumeister is deeply shaken over the battle for Stalingrad in particular..
Something pleasant again: Our friend Dr. Herbert Herrmann reports that he was able to show slides of Baumeister's pictures and drawings with a projector from the German Wehrmacht to publisher Christian Zervos and friends in Paris who responded very positively to Baumeister's works.
Lovely for us is the visit of a night fighter pilot, Sergeant Karl Otto Götz, who is stationed in Ludwigsburg and comes at the recommendation of Will Grohmann from Dresden.
He is painter with a modern outlook. Unfortunately, he could only visit us a few times since he was transferred.
March 7, 1943
Daughter Krista has Confirmation. Ecclesiastical proceedings in the small wooden church... The Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer and the creed are always very impressive. Splendid in content and form of speech. I thought of cult forms from Egypt up to the present. The Christian idea is irrefutable.
On March 9, 1943 Baumeister travels to Wuppertal. On March 11 there is an air attack on Stuttgart.
On March 12 Margarete reports to Baumeister in Wuppertal of a heavy bomb explosion on a neighbor's retaining wall, which we survived in the basement. The basement is full of dust. The house sustains heavy damage. Fortunately Baumeister is still in Wuppertal since he is often outside to observe when there is an alarm. Daughter Krista is luckily in the Schwarzwald for recreation.
April 27, 1943
Death of Oskar Schlemmer. The devastating news reached me in the evening at Mrs. Döcker's, where I slept for a time since our house is no longer inhabitable. Great air raid on Stuttgart the following night, in the Döcker house basement as the bombs fell and gunfire droned, I still thought especially about the late friend ...
May 1, 1943
Completed ten illustrations to Gyges from Herodotus.
June 5, 1943
... News from Heinz Rasch: terrible air attack on Wuppertal ...
Completed illustrations to Gilgamesh ... to sleep I'm moving to a small room on the fourth floor of the Krone Hotel [in Urach] ...
Jubne 8, 1943
One has a certain fear everyday when falling asleep that an air attack on Stuttgart could take place ... My fee bank-transfers from Herberts, Wuppertal have failed to come through for a month since the Cologne postal check office was destroyed.
Existence and with it daily, practical life grows increasingly complicated. I now write this diary in Urach since Stuttgart will very probably also suffer dreadful air attacks. Unfortunately I still have too many important things, books, and new pictures and other objects in Stuttgart such as the small sculpture collection ... The battle on the entire Russian front continues. The Russians are ahead with men and material ...
June 10, 1943
I made notes on Esther from the Bible and brought them with me to Urach. Thus the drawing of the free illustrations is proceeding well. Esther now has 26 drawings mostly on colored paper. It's been a great pleasure to draw.
June 26, 1943
According to a telegram from Rasch ... the painting-technique research (paint-media science) of the Dr. Kurt Herberts Company (Wuppertal) in which my workroom is located ... has been totally destroyed ... the place of my work destroyed along with it. In the office a few of my pictures and drawings burned. Fortunately the coworkers didn't suffer any bodily injuries ... Brought all hand drawings and the majority of small-format oil pictures to Urach. Some of the South-Seas sculptures and masks ...
September 13, 1943
Illustrations to "Saul" from the Bible text ... I presume that further threat to Stuttgart is directly imminent and thus always spend the night in Urach. In Stuttgart, daily work: practical experiments for the book project Modulation and Patina ...
October 5, 1943
In Stuttgart: Chief Storm Leader Stastny-Hein, News Director from the neighboring house (the SS), declares himself a lover of the not entirely repaired, non-inhabited Gerokstrasse residence. He needs three rooms.
We are very cramped in Urach as far as dwelling is concerned, we also don't know what to do with the drawings, pictures, books, and collection objects; complete silence about good working opportunities. These hindrances burden Baumeister a great deal.
October 17, 1943
Margrit in Stuttgart with the children, tells me while returning to Urach that our large Philodendron plant was destroyed by the soldiers clearing up who broke off the snake-like trunks! I mourn as over a friend. My mother took the shoot from her equally large plant in 1921. Correspondingly, our marvelous plant was about 22 years old.
October 20, 1943
The son of our neighbor Reich has been killed in action in Russia. I met him a while back when he was on leave. A smart and also very good-looking person. The individual fates are terrible.
On November 5 Baumeister travels to Wuppertal, into the largely destroyed city. Only private accommodations are available. Baumeister works in a hut for the 'Modulation and Patina' project and even produces three pictures that he leaves with Heinz Rasch.
November 24, 1943
Return to Stuttgart.
I fear for that which I have produced and for that which I will produce in my meager time.
Baumeister gives the Saul drawing series with 44 originals to Herbert Herrmann, who has come from Paris on vacation so that he can show them to prospective art-client acquaintances in Paris. Baumeister is considerably concerned whether, through all the adventures, he will get the drawings back. But Baumeister's need to show his works to people interested in art takes priority.
One hopes for peace but initially sees no starting points for it. Suppressing the psychological burden for a few hours succeeds from time to time, allowing for the need to catch one's breath. Negative thoughts must be continually prevented from settling in for good. The event of war is a sum of countless, dreadful single fates.
Artistic results of the past year. In the first two months I could regularly produce a few pictures (moderately large format on cardboard). Good color tones, various paint media and application. I had to go to Wuppertal at the end of February whereby the painting, with one exception, was completed.
The artistic production was hampered by bomb destruction in the house and studio, the family's relocation to Urach, and related complications as well as other and then psychological difficulties. Also by thoughts about whether the finished and to be finished pictures would be preserved, that is, survive the war, and, in that fortunate case, if they would ever again receive their due. I certainly hope for the latter to be sure. The concentration necessary for artistic work is difficult in this torrent of facts and thoughts. Following an impulse I began to illustrate texts.
This resulted in:
Gyges from Herodotus, 10 leaves
Gilgamesh, 72 leaves (a few supplemental leaves added later), Esther 33 leaves
Saul ca. 42 leaves, Tempest from Shakespeare, 44 leaves (illustrations mostly humorous following the word imagery)
The three old men from Tolstoy, 4 leaves and partially larger independent drawings
Very little painted this year, much drawn (illustrations).
February 4, 1944
Decision year? End?
Discussion with Casca [Carl Schlemmer] in the Stuttgart studio about the manuscript and the pattern plates that he and I produced for Modulation and Patina.
February 14, 1944
In the Bubenbad restaurant, Stuttgart with artist Eichhorn ... The restaurant has an unassuming atmosphere. Kept company for an hour in the evening. Will to something, disappointment, but traces of humanity ...
February 19, 1944
It's snowing again ... I travel to Urach on Fridays or Saturdays, always with books in the suitcase, which I believe are safer in Urach.
February 21, 1944
3 AM. The heaviest attack on Stuttgart to date.
February 22, 1944
from Urach to Stuttgart
In the diary Baumeister lists the damaged important buildings including the New Castle, art building, Hindenburg Building, Weise Bookshop, favorite shop for cigars, Martz Painting and Drawing Store (paint and drawing paper supplier), a heavy blow for Baumeister.
An irreplaceable loss is the Natural History Museum ... that also contained fossils and early-human stone tools. The large skeleton of the Elephas anticus ... besides that, the building was Stuttgart's most beautiful classicist structure.
March 1, 1944
Via Dr. Herrmann received greetings from Le Corbusier from Paris on card painted with varnish paints...inscribed with dedication. I am very delighted.
May 26, 1944
To work Baumeister acquires the attic guest retreat in the house of our landlady Miss Wied.
June 6, 1944
The English and the Americans land at the mouth of the Seine.
June 8, 1944
Evening visit with the publisher Gutbrod ... Debate a great deal about art with Dr. Musper. Gutbrod purchases a picture. G. wishes to publish something written by me.
June 24, 1944
In Urach one often writes on Sunday: thoughts about art, older manuscript attempts taken up again. Feeling and reflection can pull life together on a higher level. Even if the artist works consciously, he lets himself be surprised by what results.
Art mediates the notion of freedom.
Boundaries are broken open and the river of life flows into newly opened zones.
The infinite is understood, interest in the universe made more secure (this start must take place repeatedly because the waning energy continually has an effect, too.)
The interest in art, especially in the newest art, provides interest in "everything," just like a deep breath produces a connection between body and universe ...
A typical feature of the second-rate artist, etc. is that he stakes out newly discovered values, seizes a style and its boundaries, fills, uses, in a certain sense harvests it ... while the artist of a higher sort actually doesn't see and doesn't know how to preserve, but rather is always in constant motion and full inner motion. He bumps up against the unknown with every work and in this sense is not created to make certain reflections while working.
Woe to he who obtains a goal.
The aimlessly incessantly-acting is the highest power of all existence.
The looker, the receiver is led to an activism, to his own steps of perception, to his own thinking.
The work of art has motivating power.
July 20, 1944
Bomb assassination attempt on the Führer, who was in a meeting with his generals. The bomb was set by one Colonel Graf von Stauffenberg. The Führer slightly injured, a few officers more and less ... responsible is a very small clique of conspirers. Within six hours everything is suppressed. Disquieting hours.
July 25, 1944
Heavy attack on Stuttgart with many casualties.
Our area has been ravaged. Only minor damage in the house ... The Bubenbad Restaurant went up in flames ... Stuttgart from above: fire and smoke. The atmosphere was brownish the entire day, the sun added a dark-orange light. The flames caused a storm with flying sparks, an artificial storm. Desperate and apathetic people next to a couple of furniture pieces that were saved on the street. Disaster on a great scale, family tragedies, the men absent in war in this case. The Collegiate Church, Stuttgart's landmark, destroyed ... One finds himself in a strange state with so much annihilation all around ...
August 2, 1944
Six cases with pictures sent from Urach to the Rüggli zum Hirschen [Inn] in Horn.
August 4, 1944
Of the manuscript composed above: "Reflection" sent one copy apiece to publisher Karl Gutbrod ... and to Curt Weller ...
August 9, 1944
End of the "traitors" [quotation marks!] by hanging via the Volksgerichthof [Peoples Court] ...
The Unknown in Art! The title "Reflection" remains a chapter heading. The previously unknown is made "known" in the work of art. The artist is the inventor of new values. The more he removes himself from the familiar, the more essential his artistic endeavors.
September 3, 1944
Baumeister travels to Wuppertal. Works with Heinz Rasch on the manuscripts 'Modulation and Patina' and 'Borne from the Painting Technique'. The train trip from Wuppertal to Stuttgart very complicated, long, and dangerous and - as he writes in the diary - requires strong nerves.
September 16, 1944
To Stuttgart, I can no longer enter the rooms that until now were mine. SS Brigade Leader Müller has removed my furniture and moved in without further ado. I must thus leave the Gerokstrasse house ... withdrawal to the quarters in Urach ... Correspondingly our entire dwelling will be inhabited by the SS.
Three heavy bombs shatter the building at Diemershalde 48 in which Baumeister's studio is located, partially destroy the contents.
Where to put the contents, the easels, painting portfolios, materials, etc? I have no place to paint anymore ... My parents' house at Gymnasiumstrasse 53, except for the basement, has been burned out. The events of my youth from birth to 1926, when I left to marry, have great sentimental value.
Mother, now in Sebastiansweiler, will be hard hit by the news. She lived there for nearly 60 years ...
October 19, 1944
Summons to the Volkssturm (People's Storm) ...
October 27, 1944
To Wuppertal with the front-soldier train, work on the Modulation and Patina manuscript with Mr. Rasch and Dr. Kurt Herberts. The stay stretched out to over 5 weeks...Twice a day in the bunker. My sleep was so light that the conscious often didn't totally turn off ...
Dr. Herberts can no longer maintain the working and payment arrangements since the factory can only produce a small amount of paint, etc ...
In Urach the family is greatly concerned about Baumeister's whereabouts. He is unable to get news to the family either by mail or by phone, which makes him very unhappy. The family likewise cannot get word to him.
December 4, 1944
Journey home to Urach took three days.
Then at last on 12.7.1944 the experience of a happy reunion.
December 9, 1944
Visited mother in Sebastiansweiler. Her strength is diminishing further. She is nevertheless in good spirits and up for word jokes. Swarms of planes in the air ...
December 23, 1944
Krista is 16 years old. Modest birthday party.
December 24, 1944
Christmas Eve with Miss Wied. Only an Advent wreath was prepared. Towards evening a neighbor offered a tree so we could nonetheless adorn a beautiful Christmas tree ...
December 31, 1944
On New Year's Eve invited by Dr. Nowotny to inspect the laboratories of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (was moved to Urach). Snow and permanent cold. There is general fear of an air attack on Reutlingen.
January 1, 1945
Will it bring the end to the war? Registration with the People's Storm.
Curt Weller confirms receipt of the manuscript. He recommends the publication.
I now have reservations about modernity ... it could work against me.
January 15, 1945
Air raid on Urach. 30 houses damaged, fires, casualties. One now believes it is out of negligence that nothing could happen here. Baumeister brought new drawings, all valuable books, collection objects.
The concern about subsistence is now great ... also the family's personal safety.
January 19, 1945
The Russians' great attack gains ground.
February 12, 1945
Bombing on Stuttgart again. Front of the house badly damaged. All the silver firs in the front garden destroyed (Ginko still stands) ...
February 17, 1945
Court martial instituted against persons refusing to participate in the defense.
March 12, 1945
Tension about the further development of the war events is great.
March 14, 1945
There is rumor of the imminent use of poisonous gas. The terror in which one is forced to live daily is thereby further increased ...
March 15-16, 1945
I am on the night patrol of the People's Storm. Three-hour march through Urach and surroundings. Service from 8 PM to 6 AM ...
Baumeister travels to Stuttgart with the greengrocer to bring a case with pictures from 1944 back to Urach.
In spring and summer of last year I was still able to paint with oil. Whether the pictures are safer in Urach than in the Stuttgart basement?
English low-level aircraft bombard individual trucks along with railway trains, so every ride is life-threatening. The case is unpacked in Urach. Unfortunately it is impossible to look at the pictures in a favorable position in the small, overcrowded rooms. It is nonetheless marvelous for me to gaze at them ... At the same time an intense desire to paint again develops. But it is unfortunately impracticable. Along with all the depression, hope still remains for a later date. Again and again I am a prohibited painter. But the concern about preserving the works already produced also hangs in the balance: 6 picture cases with drawings are in Horn in the Zum Hirschen Inn, stored with the Rügglis, the Swiss citizens. The illustration series and photo-record files are with Curt Weller, likewise in Horn.
March 27, 1945
The American army is to have invaded Baden near Karlsruhe. Thoughts are dominated by the events ... It would be greatly desired that the hopeless war be stopped.
April 1, 1945
Easter Day. Planes over Urach the whole day. Often in the basement. Walk with Dr. Nowotny and his wife among the rock-caves to choose a cave as a protective shelter for the imminent combat days. We select a cave, but I am determined to travel from Urach to the South to avoid experiencing the uncertain days of the encroaching front and its wake in Urach.
Local command of Urach: Women and children must leave, men join the People's Storm. Urach is on defense. (I later found out that the People's Storm wanted to bring me before a summary court of justice for desertion.) Decision that the family leaves. 4 suitcases are packed with the most necessary items. Fe[licitas] still takes her school satchel. The children put on 4 dresses, I wear my best suit, the coarse boots. Margrit fetches jewelry from the save [sic] ... The 4 of us march off up the Münsinger footpath.
Our April 3, 1945 flight from Urach to Horn is hazardous but nonetheless accompanied by luck.
We started off up the Münsinger footpath on foot. Even so after a while we make greater headway with a truck ride. A couple of days later we arrive at the home of a farmer family we know near Ehingen on the Danube. We study the map and realize we could reach Lake Constance. Curt Weller is there and it would be possible to discuss 'The Unknown in Art' manuscript. Max Ackermann and his wife are also there in their summer house. After a strenuous trip to Horn we are greeted warmly and given shelter. Max Ackermann provides Baumeister with painting materials. The last war days in Horn are still very disquieting with the changing fronts. Finally French troops and many combat vehicles enter into the village.
May 8, 1945
The first patrol enters the Ackermann home. 6 men.
(Ackermann and Baumeister put on berets).
I greet them in French and let them read a text I wrote about my dismissal in Frankfurt, etc ... Then they offer me cigarettes, cheroots, and tobacco and apologize that they are only German and Algerian goods ... I begin conversations about modern painting with Ackermann ... At the end of May I begin to paint seriously. We hear only vague news about the uncertain death of Hitler, Goebbels and Himmlers's suicide. The end of the greatest criminals of all time. Victory day of the Allies.
It is difficult to leave the French 'zone interdite' (restricted zone) to come to Stuttgart. It takes great effort to obtain the Laissez Passer (authorization pass). Through intervention from the American Cultural Officer in Stuttgart, Lieutenant Koch, we receive the necessary papers. Finally we first reach Singen by horse-drawn wagon, loaded with six picture cases, then Stuttgart via a truck with a wood carburetor.
We find our dwelling in a ravaged state.
During their absences Dr. Petermann and Dr. Musper are both active (in securing) Baumeister's candidacy as academy director (in Stuttgart).
On March 16, 1946 Baumeister receives an appointment as Professor for Painting at the Stuttgart Art Academy.