O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
How faithfully you blossom!
Through summer’s heat
and winter’s chill
Your leaves are green and
O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
How faithfully you blossom!
The above lyrics are from an 1824 song written by German composer Ernst Anschütz. Over the years his composition O Tannenbaum (in German ‘Tannenbaum’ means fir tree), became closely associated with Christmas. By the 20th century the song was considered a traditional Christmas carol in the English speaking world. While many American pop vocalists had recorded it, in 1960 it was the American crooner Nat King Cole (1919-1965) that released his version where he sang the original lyrics in German.
Appropriately enough, this essay is about a contemporary but insignificant minority of very nasty Germans who despise Christmas trees. You could say the story is a low-brow Germanic version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas à la Dr. Seuss.
On Dec. 13, 2023, members of the German eco-extremist group known as Die Letzte Generation (The Last Generation), carried out coordinated attacks against decorated Christmas trees on public display in the German cities of Berlin, Oldenburg, Kiel, Leipzig, Rostock, Nuremberg and Munich.
The Last Generation defiles Christmas tree at Mädler Passage. Video: Last Generation.
The eco-vandals used fire extinguishers filled with orange paint to blanket the handsomely embellished Christmas trees with a smothering cloak of fiery orange hue. The eco-zealots use the color as a symbol of the wildfires and rising temperatures they insist are being caused by the use of fossil fuels. The defiled Christmas trees were located at significant cultural sites; one was outside the German parliament in Berlin, another was at the Mädler Passage, a historic shopping arcade in Leipzig.
Three Letzte Generation members filmed themselves spraying jets of orange paint on the ornamented Christmas tree located in the charming Mädler Passage arcade. After ruining the wonderfully decorated tree, they unfurled a banner that read: “Reflecting on the catastrophe? Charity = Climate Protection.”
They posted their video on X (formerly Twitter), and announced they would replicate their destructive action in the aforementioned cities. The “activists” made the following statement:
“Let us do everything peaceful together to prevent a world that is 3 degrees hotter. We can’t rely on governments and corporations to do this. We ourselves are called upon to take action and engage in civil disobedience.”
I’m certain Letzte Generation cadre have been told there’s a big difference between “peaceful” acts of “civil disobedience” and destructive acts of criminal vandalism and property destruction. Though, inhaling their toxic orange paint fumes may have led to asphyxiating their good judgement.
Letzte Generation should also be reminded that Christmas is an annual festival that marks the birth of Jesus Christ, and while the celebration has been secularized of late, it remains a Holy occasion for billions of Christians around the world.
For those secular minded non-Christians, it is still a time of joyous gift giving where the doctrine of “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men” is embraced. Yes, I know… that’s a scriptural refrain. All the more reason to understand that contaminating and befouling Christmas trees with orange paint will be viewed unfavorably, and will turn tens of millions from your cause. What an idiotic strategy.
Moreover, the trees scourged with orange paint will be removed and tossed, and no doubt replaced with fresh trees. That’s the only result of this moronic “protest.” One might think that so-called environmentalists who strive to protect the planet and end deforestation might have thought of this. By their actions Letzte Generation expose themselves as frauds. However, during the Holiday season of 2023, the group has opted to assault Christmas Trees as a legitimate way to protest “climate change.”
Letzte Generation and other European climate-alarmist groups like Just Stop Oil of the UK and Ultima Generazione of Italy, are guilty of numerous acts of art vandalism aimed at art museums. I have documented some of these attacks in my Sept 2022 article titled The Eco-Extremist War on Art.
Die Letzte Generation has been very active in Germany. In March of 2023 the group attacked the monument to the German constitution located outside of Germany’s parliament in Berlin. The installation is a large wall of heavy glass, etched with the words of the 19 basic human rights found in Germany’s Constitution. Prior to that, on Nov. 23, 2022, two Letzte Generation extremists disrupted a classical music concert at the Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg. The performance of music by Ludwig van Beethoven was interrupted when the two glued their hands to the conductor’s podium and harangued the audience with “climate collapse” horror stories.
On Oct. 23, 2022 four members of Letzte Generation gained entry to the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany to throw liquid mashed potatoes onto Les Meules (Haystacks), a famous 1890 oil painting by French Impressionist Claude Monet.
On Aug. 26, 2022, two Letzte Generation vandals invaded the Alte Pinakothek Museum in Munich, Germany and superglued their hands to the antique frame holding Massacre of Innocents, the 1638 oil painting by Peter Paul Rubens. There’s no question these miscreants will mount future attacks on priceless works of art displayed in the world’s great museums—this is after all, a war on Western civilization.
Meanwhile in the USA, we have eco-extremists like “Declare Emergency.” They carry out their own acts of art vandalism. Members of the group entered the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and vandalized a display related to the masterpiece statue, The Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial, created by American artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907).
The 54th was an all-Black Union Army regiment commanded by the white officer Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, a dedicated abolitionist. On July 18, 1863 the 54th fought Confederates at the South Carolina Battle of Fort Wagner. Two hundred and eighty one African-American soldiers of the heroic 54th were killed, wounded, or captured. Shaw was killed in action. The 54th lost the battle, but the Union won the war.
Saint-Gaudens’ memorial artwork in the museum is a 17-foot-long bas-relief plaster statue he exhibited in 1900. It is referred to as a patinated plaster. That means the plaster was treated to look like metal; first the plaster was primed with shellac to make it less absorbent, then painted with a lacquer or oil based coating holding bronze or copper powder. Once dry, paste wax was applied and buffed off, leaving a glossy surface protection. While a patinated plaster work can look like a newly minted bronze, it’s a plaster statue meant for indoor display.
On Nov. 14, 2023, a Declare Emergency member named Geor Green defaced with red paint the wall text hanging next to Saint-Gaudens plaster statue masterwork. The text includes a roster of the Black 54th soldiers killed, wounded, or captured. The leftwing “activist” defiled the names of the courageous war dead by painting onto the plaque, Honor Them. The spirit soldiers of the valiant 54th Regiment curse the defiler Geor Green. He had the nerve to issue a statement characterizing his vile act as “non-violent civil disobedience.” He went on to say of the 54th:
“We should honor them by carrying on their work. So, I say, ‘Joe Biden must declare a climate emergency’ in their honor because the great majority of the people who are being harmed by the climate emergency now and who will be harmed in the future are people who look like the soldiers of the Massachusetts 54th.”
The National Museum spokeswoman Anabeth Guthrie confirmed that Geor Green had been arrested, and that the vandalism was being investigated. She went on to say that “our staff is working hard to clean the wall in the hopes of reopening the gallery on Wednesday.” As of this writing I have heard nothing of the charges related to Green’s arrest.
The vandalism of the wall plaque next to Saint-Gaudens’ masterpiece received almost no attention in the US media. Considering the decrepitude of establishment media these days it’s not surprising. The National Gallery of Art contains one of the greatest collections of art in the world. Established in 1937 its halls and galleries are full of treasured paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and photographs. Yet, the press ignored the vandalism aimed at those lionhearted heroes of the 54th.
But Saint-Gaudens also cast a bronze version of the 54th sculpture. It was unveiled in 1897 at the Boston Common of Massachusetts, where it stands today. During a 2019 trip to Boston my wife and I were thrilled to stand before that dramatic bronze tribute. The architectural setting and frame that surrounded the relief bronze was designed by the celebrated American architect Charles Follen McKim.
I was infuriated to read that on May 30, 2020, during protests over the death of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter and Antifa vandals defaced Saint-Gaudens’ 54th Regiment Memorial. The backside of McKim’s granite podium the 54th Memorial rests on was spray painted with the slogans: Black Lives Matter, ACAB (meaning ‘All Cops Are Bastards’), RIP George Floyd, F**k 12 (the number a reference to police), and No Justice No Peace.
The Declare Emergency gang is well known to the staff of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. On April 27, 2023, two cadre from the group invaded the museum to attack the renown statue Little Dancer Aged Fourteen by famed Impressionist artist Edgar Degas. The duo smeared red and black paint over the plexiglass box protecting the statue. The stunt was designed to bring attention to their belief that impending climate collapse caused by fossil fuel is just about to happen.
The two were arrested, and on May 24, 2023 were issued a Grand Jury indictment by the US District Court for the District of Columbia, charging them with committing “an offense against the United States.” If convicted they face a “maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.”
Which brings me to Republican Senator JD Vance of Ohio. He has introduced the Consequences for Climate Vandals Act, which doubles prison sentences for vandalizing “art or other property on the grounds of the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian museums, the Kennedy Center, and other properties.”
Cosponsored by Republican Senator Mike Braun of Indiana, the legislation would raise the penalty for art vandalism to ten years. Vance says “there should be no tolerance for the vandalization of our historic works of art.” I agree, and I’ve been saying this ever since 2022 when climate alarmists launched their strategy of attacking artworks and museums.
Climate change zealots are vandalizing historic artworks that represent a collective cultural legacy that belongs to the people of the world. By not defending this inheritance we invite civilizational collapse. The barbarians have entered the city gates… it’s time we respond.
For now the eco-vandals are satisfied with thwarting Christmas by ruining Xmas trees.
To paraphrase Dr. Seuss… The Green Grinches hate Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.