Käthe Kollwitz, »Seed for sowing should not be milled«, 1941, crayon lithograph, Kn 274, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

This sheet is based on a Goethe quote from the »Lehrbrief«, the 7th book of Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship. Kollwitz had used the same quote in her open letter against Dehmel’s appeal towards the end of the First World War.

In her diary, the artist commented on the genesis of the sheet:


I have decided – for the 3rd time – to take up the same theme and said to Hans a few days ago: This is now my legacy: ›Seed for sowing should not be milled‹ […] So I painted the same scene again: Boys, proper Berlin boys, who greedily scent the air outside like young horses, are held back by a woman. The woman (an old woman) has wrapped the boys into her protective mantle, spreading her arms and hands over them in a violent and dominant gesture. ›Seeds for sowing must not be ground‹ – this demand is, like ›Never again War‹, not a sentimental yearning, but a command, a demand.«
Käthe Kollwitz, Diaries, December 1941


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