New Palace / 1933
The Marble Gallery: A Site in the Service of National Socialist Representation
The Prussian State Council’s first work session took place at the New Palace’s Marble Gallery on 16 September 1933. Just the morning before, Prussian Minister President Hermann Göring had laid a laurel wreath on the tomb of Frederick II in the Garnisonkirche (Garrison Church) in Potsdam. Göring paid tribute to the Prussian king so that he himself could subsequently take his place as head of the New Palace. Following the National Socialists’ seizure of power on 30 January 1933, the large Frederician palace building shifted more strongly into the new state leadership’s focus. Its first major undertaking on the grounds saw the redesign of the interiors of northern Communs building, located across from the New Palace, into the “Reichsführerschule des Deutschen Arbeitsdienstes”‒ a school for indoctrinating future Party leaders and officials.
Göring specifically chose the New Palace as a prestigious meeting location for his new State Council. He clearly and symbolically intended to claim the legacy of King Frederick II – “the Great” ‒ for himself. In spring 1933, as Minister President of Prussia, he reorganized the Prussian State Council, which had been in existence since 1921, into a representative body in keeping with the National Socialist worldview. In the future, Prussia’s State Council would play a special role in supporting the structure of “Third Reich”. In his opening speech at the New Palace, Göring stressed: “The Prussian State Council intends to lay the cornerstone of a ‘true National Socialist state constitution.’” This objective was nevertheless nothing more than a propagandistic chess move. The State Council had no authority of its own. Its members were all high-ranking officials in the NSDAP (the Nazi Party), all ministers in the Third Reich, representatives of the economy, science, art and culture.
In a further move, Göring had the Marquis d’Argens’ six-room suite, which was in close proximity to the Marble Gallery, set up as his private apartments. He used the Frederician interiors as a rest area in the years that followed.
The Prussian State Council only convened six times; its final meeting was held in 1936. This body did not meet again during the National Socialist dictatorship, which came to an end in 1945.