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The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 25. April 1995
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"Nicholas knows the art world as well as any military historian knows his battlefield.... Her work deserves the widest reading."--New York Times Book Review
"At once fascinating and horrifying [with] a strong element of spine-chilling suspense."- Los Angeles Times
"Intriguing..suspenseful...a sensational story of moral courage and greatness of character in the face of pure evil." -Houston Chronicle
"Impressively detailed and well-told...full of moving and fateful stories of escape, intrigue, betrayal, and sacrifice."-San Francisco Chronicle
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
The cast of characters includes Hitler and Goering, Gertrude Stein and Marc Chagall--not to mention works by artists from Leonardo da Vinci to Pablo Picasso. And the story told in this superbly researched and suspenseful book is that of the Third Reich's war on European culture and the Allies' desperate effort to preserve it.
From the Nazi purges of "Degenerate Art" and Goering's shopping sprees in occupied Paris to the perilous journey of the "Mona Lisa from Paris and the painstaking reclamation of the priceless treasures of liberated Italy, The Rape of Europa is a sweeping narrative of greed, philistinism, and heroism that combines superlative scholarship with a compelling drama.
"Nicholas knows the art world as well as any military historian knows his battlefield.... Her work deserves the widest reading."--"New York Times Book Review
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It may sound like a bizarre comparison, but the "Grinch" of Dr. Seuss fame came to mind while reading. The fictional character like his Nazi counterparts attempted to wipe out a culture by taking everything. The list of names of Artists includes every Master that ever painted, sculpted, drew, or any artisan who created a work of beauty. Nothing was overlooked; imagine having to return over 5,000 bells stolen from all over Europe. Yes, bells, as I said they took everything.
The book has some great photographs. There is a photo of one of the Goering residences and the Art he had stolen. It may sound bizarre but it looks like a bad yard sale. Any taste he had was in his mouth. It's quite a feat to amass priceless objects, and then display them in such a way and in such numbers, that the result is a garage sale. The picture also illustrates what the whole theft was about, the desire to have stuff, all the stuff you could steal. Happily they lost, or the world's great art would have become the personal property of the artistically challenged moral degenerates of the Third Reich.
Much more intriguing was Ms. Nicholas's treatment of how so much art was preserved, hidden, and protected. A photograph of DaVinci's "Last Supper", or better said the protective covering, is simply amazing. So too are the photos of American Soldiers casually posing with a Goya, or standing with The Ghent Altarpiece. Aerial photographs of destroyed cities where virtually all that was saved was the Art.
There are also troubling events after the War that remain to the present. So much art was stolen yet again by the Victors, some has reappeared, and much has not. Even the custody that was taken of many works after the War by this Country, and displayed at our National Galleries is an event I would hope we would never again repeat. The value of these objects, the tons of precious metals, and other items are beyond calculation. Hopefully with the changes in Europe and the Former Soviet Union more art will find it's way back to where it originally resided.
In the end all the effort the Nazis expended on their desire to feed there egos probably saved many, many pieces of art. I am in no way suggesting what they did was correct. If they thought they were saving art for future generations of people and not their superior race of automatons, they would have destroyed it. And the Corporal's fondness for Paris didn't hurt either.
A very well written and interesting book for the art lover, or for fans of well crafted History.
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Ms Nicholas writes in a manner that makes the subject matter unfold almost like a thriller. Even portions of information that one may deem dry come across in an interesting way. One issue however: I sometimes struggled to keep names in order--there is a large cast of art dealers, Nazis, etc. This may not be a problem for you.
I love art, and have found this telling of a rarely discussed part of WWII (I knew almost nothing about it) very interesting and educational; it really broadens your scope of the art world and even the second World War. If you like art, art history, the history of WWII, or are simply looking for a fascinating (true) yarn, The Rape of Europa is an excellent choice. I highly recommend it.
Also, if you have seen the documentary but have not read the book, I would encourage you to still read it; it covers significantly more than the documentary is able to.
of Hitler's officer art "korps." The OSS-attached group of American officers, led by scholarly art historians, future museum directors, future art critics, and hundreds of other enlisted U.S. soldiers (one of which took part in looting the found treasures) were themselves overwhelmed by the irreplaceable works hidden throughout, mostly, caves and railroad tunnels in southern Germany, and one
remote castle. The PBS documentary that was produced based on Lynne Nichols' book is far superior to the recent "Monuments Men" film, which tries futilely to make a "story" out of the realism of the period. The reluctance of the Vienna State Museum to return the paintings of Gustav Klimt to the relatives of the Bloch family is, in itself, an indictment of the twisted arguments given by
those who collaborated with the Nazi looters.
First, I have to highly commend the author on the fantastic research she has done. She has focused not only on thefts from the famous museums such as the Louvre and the Uffizi but also on private collections and smaller art galleries. She has also done justice to accurate portrayls of each of the so-called "art experts" in Nazi Germany Second, the hypocricy of some of the Nazi leaders is so blatant: first, they host an exhibition of degenerative art and then they secretly go on to buy or steal some of the same art.
This book can serve as an excellent textbook across several disciplines: art history, criminology, forensic science, not to mention political analysis of Nazi-occuppied Europe.
You might feel that the amount of names and dates is too dense, and maybe have some trouble with all the footnotes. However, the Kindle format can help make the reading experience more streamlined (loving the XRay function for this one), and once you get past that, you'll discover a fabulous book that manages to articulate all the simultaneous things that were happening around European art and artworks during the WW2.
Nicholas is a wonderful writer. This extraordinary book reads like a thriller, with twists and turns worthy of PDJames. No need for you to be an art historian, lawyer, WWII buff or scholar to enjoy this story.