“How much fantasy lives on, gay and unrestrained, in these costumes. The sober grey city attire has not yet trampled all”, the art critic Max Osborn wrote in the Vossische Zeitung in 1932. He was referring to the photographs by Hans Retzlaff on display in the Berlin State Art Library. As a reaction to rural exodus and urbanization in the Weimar Republic, “agrarian romanticism” was on the rise. The return to old values went hand in hand with the glorification of the peasant way of life. Following the National Socialist accession to power in 1933, a “blood-and-soil” ideology aiming for a community of common racial descent took hold. The increasingly severe ostracization and persecution of Jews forced more and more people to flee, among them Max Osborn. The photographs by Hans Retzlaff corresponded to the National Socialist ideology of nation and race and served the purposes of “political education”. In ever-similar photo sequences, Retzlaff captured young and old dressed in traditional costumes and performing folk dances or, as here, in emphatically close-up shots. These groups also included persons belonging to German minorities outside what were then Germany’s borders. Transylvanian Saxons, for example, lived and live in a region that belonged and today still belongs to Romania. The National Socialists had set their sights on these areas in their efforts towards territorial expansion. With his photographs, Retzlaff propagated a German national consciousness.