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Posted at: Mar 30, 2015, 10:20 AM; last updated: Mar 30, 2015, 10:20 AM (IST)

Le Corbusier unmasked as Hitler sympathiser

Revelations in letters

  • The latest revelations include letters written by Le Corbusier (left) to his mother in 1940 where he wrote “If he is serious in his declarations, Adolf Hitler can crown his life with a magnificent work, the remaking of Europe.”
Le Corbusier unmasked as Hitler sympathiser
Le Corbusier.

Shyam Bhatia in London

One of Chandigarh’s founding fathers has been unmasked as a sympathiser of Adolf Hitler.

Charles Edouard Jeanneret, better known globally as Le Corbusier, is accused of anti-semitic leanings and an obsession with eugenics in a book scheduled to be released next month. The author of “Le Corbusier, a French Fascism,” is Xavier de Jarcy. Another biographer and architecture critic Francois Chaslin has separately accused Le Corbusier of being anti-semitic, quoting from a different letter in which Le Corbusier refers to “Jewish cretins”.

Back in the 1950s, Le Corbusier prepared the master plan for Chandigarh in which he developed the metaphor of a human being to design the city. The “head” contain the capital complex, the “heart” the commercial centre and the “arms” have the academic and leisure facilities. The courts, legislative buildings and secretariat are all among the renowned buildings of the City Beautiful which Le Corbusier helped to design.

Jawaharlal Nehru commented back in 1959 about Chandigarh, saying, “I have welcomed greatly one experiment and that is Chandigarh…. It hits you on the head and makes you think.”

Supporters of Le Corbusier have long described him as the father of modern architecture, one of the world’s most innovative designers. France is preparing to mark his 50th death anniversary with an exhibition in Paris that will look back over his work.

The latest revelations include letters written to his mother in 1940 where he wrote “If he is serious in his declarations, Hitler can crown his life with a magnificent work, the remaking of Europe.” At the height of the war two years later, he described Hitler as “glimmer of good”, welcoming the great “clean- up” that was about to happen. “Money, the Jews, Freemasonry, everything will be subject to the law. These shameful fortresses will be dismantled.”

Questions are now being asked about how Le Corbusier, who was born in Switzerland, was able to continue working following the end of World War-II and why these shaming allegations have taken so long to surface.

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