SPUR trial letters and ephemera. Munich (Germany), 1962.

Today, one of the more unique items in my collections – 7 pieces of ephemera around the Spur Trial, all dated between 24/05/1962 and 24/09/1962.

Beglaubigte Abschrift des Urteils. Munchen. 18 p.; 21 x 29.5 cm.; black ink on cream paper. “JUDGMENT. The Amtsgericht Munchen, Department criminal court recognizes in the criminal proceedings against Kunzelmann, Dieter / storm, Helmut / Prem, Heimrad / Zimmer, Hans-Peter / for religious defamation, among others” (p.1). May 4 verdict against the SPUR members in the first trial. Kunzelmann, Prem, Zimmer received five months and two weeks, while Sturm received five months (p.2-3). A few pencil annotations by Walter Jens, then Professor of Rhetoric at University of Tubingen. [ONLY PAGE 1 POSTED, FULL COPY AVAILABLE ON REQUEST]IMG_3608

Antrag wegen Berufungsverhandlung-Termin mit ausführl. Begründung zum Thema vom RA Kreile. Munchen. 4 p. 21 x 29.5 cm.; black ink on white stock.Letter from Reinhold Kreile, lawyer (signed by him), to the Munich District Court (Lamdgericht Munchen) requests an appeal hearing date for the SPUR trial. It names Josef Oberberger, Walter Hollerer, Walter Haftmann and Pastpr Carls Anders-Skriver are the experts that will testify to SPUR group members’ good faith and “modern art” nature of their work.

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Werner Haftmann, Gutachtliche Äußerung über das Heft 6 der Gruppe Spur.  Munchen. 9 p. 21 x 29.5 cm.; black ink on white stock. Typed letter dated 15.8.1962 from Werner Haftmann, a renowned Art Historian of the time (he published a book on Paul Klee in 1958) who provides his expert testimony on Issue 6 of Gruppe SPUR. He provides a quick view of his credentials, then goes on to debunk the accusations against the members of the group. This successful defense is documented in his 1999 obituary in “The Guardian”: ” Above all, he was against state intervention in art, and it was for this reason that in 1961 he championed the Spur Group, which was accused by the Munich authorities of obscenity and blasphemy. His intervention reduced their punishment from five months’ imprisonment to a suspended sentence” (http://www.theguardian.com/news/1999/aug/24/guardianobituaries2)

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Joachim Kaiser, Abschrift seiner gutachterlichen Äußerung über das Heft 6. Munchen. 5 p.; 21 x 29.5 cm.; black ink on thin carbon paper. Copy of a letter by Dr. Joachin Kaiser’s expert testimony as part of the second SPUR trial. Like Oberbenger letter, this favorable testimony by a Music Professor will help group members receive shorter sentences or be acquitted in appeal.

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Josef Oberberger, Abschrift seiner Stellungsnahme zur Gruppe “Spur”. Munchen. 3 p.; 21 x 29.5 cm.; black ink on thin carbon paper. Copy of a letter by Josef Obernberger (Professor of Artsat the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich) where he shares his opinion about Gruppe SPUR as part of the appeal / second trial in November. The letter is addressed to Dieter Liphart (a lawyer admitted to the bar in 1960) and Dr. Reinhold Kreile. Several of the SPUR members had studied painting with Obernberger in Munich. In this letter, the faculty member details his relationship with his former students and paints favorable portraits. He concludes by stating (translation is mine): “I could see how very surprised and depressed these young people could have been following the judgement and verdict” (p.3). Such a testimony will prove instrumental since Kunzelmann and Prem saw their sentence slashed to five weeks probation in appeal, while Sturm was eventually acquitted.

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Brief des RA Kreile an Walter Jens mit der Bitte um Stellungsnahme zum Heft 6. Munchen. 2 p.; 21 x 29.5 cm.; black ink on white stock. Letter from Reinhold Kreile, lawyer, to Dr. Walter Jens, then Professor at the University of Tubingen. The letter comes on Reinhold Kreile’s letterhead, and is hand-signed by him. It also includes a handful of handwritten correction in blue pen. Walter Jens, along with Obernberger, Haftmann and Kaiser, will come to the rescue of the SPUR members. In this letter, Kreile asks Jens for his opinion on SPUR’s issue #6.

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Brief des Otto van de Loo an Walter Jens zum SPUR Heft 6. Munchen. 1 p.; 21 x 29.5 cm.; black ink on white stock. Letter from Otto Van de Loo of the Galerie Van de Loo in Munich to Professor Jens, who had written an expert testimony to support the members of Gruppe SPUR. This is the letter that came with the Gruppe SPUR book, which Van de Loo enclosed.

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