The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War Info

Fan Club Reviews of best titles on art fashion, artists, history, photography. Check out our top reviews and see what others have to say about the best art and photography books of the year. Check out The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War Community Reviews - Find out where to download The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War available in multiple formats:Paperback,Hardcover,Kindle,Mass Market Paperback The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War Author:Lynn H. Nicholas Formats:Paperback,Hardcover,Kindle,Mass Market Paperback Publication Date:Apr 25, 1995


Winner of the National Book Critics Circle
Award

The real story behind the major motion picture The
Monuments Men.
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.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War:

5

Oct 28, 2008

Dear Lynn Nichols,

I'm very sorry that I have had to give up on your informative, well-researched, and extensively annotated book. I'm sure that if I'd finished it, it would have been awesome, so I'm going to go ahead and give it five stars anyway.

You see, Netflix has this great new feature where you can download movies and watch them immediately. I'm going to watch the documentary instead. Yes, I normally prefer to read the book, but in this case I'm going to make an exception.

Oh, and another Dear Lynn Nichols,

I'm very sorry that I have had to give up on your informative, well-researched, and extensively annotated book. I'm sure that if I'd finished it, it would have been awesome, so I'm going to go ahead and give it five stars anyway.

You see, Netflix has this great new feature where you can download movies and watch them immediately. I'm going to watch the documentary instead. Yes, I normally prefer to read the book, but in this case I'm going to make an exception.

Oh, and another reason why I'm going to stop reading your book is because every time you put in an endnote, which is often, by the way, I am compelled to look it up in the back of the book. Most of the time I needn't have looked them up, but I can't not look them up. Needless to say, this is quite time consuming.

You can be assured that if I ever find myself with a lot of time on my hands, I will pick your book up again.

With warmest regards,
Michelle ...more
5

Feb 02, 2010

I finished reading this book almost exactly a year ago. And in the year that has since passed, I have attempted to wrap my head around everything meticulously laid out in the 450 pages of tiny black print that make up this book. I find that I grapple with the knowledge I gained here more often than I could have possibly imagined. You know how people use solar eclipses to glance directly at the sun? Well, I have found that it is through this book that I have started to honestly fathom the I finished reading this book almost exactly a year ago. And in the year that has since passed, I have attempted to wrap my head around everything meticulously laid out in the 450 pages of tiny black print that make up this book. I find that I grapple with the knowledge I gained here more often than I could have possibly imagined. You know how people use solar eclipses to glance directly at the sun? Well, I have found that it is through this book that I have started to honestly fathom the horrific nature of the Second World War, in all of its crippling, incomprehensible intensity. It has become, quite simply, the loophole upon which I can relate to things I previously only knew but had never actually felt.


The Louvre, post evacuation


Confiscated Jewish art and property in Paris

Considering the sprawling nature of the subject matter—Hitler and Goering's insatiable art collecting addiction, the stunning evacuations of the Louvre and the Hermitage collections, the "legal" seizure of Jewish art collections and property, the marginalization of "degenerate" modern art and artists, the meticulous destruction of the cultural heritages of Poland and other Slavic countries, the Nazi occupation and plunder of Italy, the tireless work of the American Monument Men, etc, etc—Lynn H. Nicholas does an admirable job with her cobwebby material that constantly threatens to spin in countless directions, organizing it into dense but generally cohesive chapters. And along the way, she packs in shocking anecdotes that could inspire countless novels and films of their own: the boot print left on Da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine after German soldiers found its hiding spot and unaware of the priceless art, ransacked the accompanying gold objects, two British reporters entering an occupied castle to interview some soldiers and coming face to face with Botticelli's gigantic Primavera, American soldiers discovering Hitler's personal art collection in a rural salt mine, and then staring at the Ghent Altarpiece and the Bruges Madonna by Michelangelo in the darkness a full quarter of a mile underground.


What remained of the frescos at the Campo Santo


Original Tchaikovsky manuscripts tossed into the snow


Hitler, Herr Art-Collector-in-Chief himself

But more than anything, it's the stories of people that shine through. As just a single example (and one I found most moving): the description of the group of people who lived in the basement of the Hermitage during the Siege of Leningrad, in conditions so cold that frozen corpses could be stored unattended for months, subsisting on "jellied soup made of carpenter's glue." And then I nearly cried over the accompanying page describing the group of starving "not-so-young" women working every day in the building itself, chipping away with crowbars at the ice building up on the walls and floors after the windows had been shattered by bombs and gunfire. I honestly had to start confronting the "big" questions: how valuable is art? Is it ever worth more than human life? And what is it about it that inspired countless people to accomplish reality-defying feats to try and preserve it for future generations?

The images included above are from the really excellent documentary adapted from this book that was released in 2006, and I can totally see the temptation in skipping this labyrinthine book in favor of a concise two hour film. But inevitably, the film only skates on the surface of most issues, and doesn't even mention many others, including some of what I thought were the most moving parts of the book. But it does has its own set of advantages, namely the sheer impact of visual confirmation of the information. Needless to say, it's an excellent supplement to Nicholas's massive tome, if not really an adequate replacement.

Just after finishing this book, I read an amazing collection of poetry called In Praise of the Unfinished: Selected Poems by Julia Hartwig, a previously untranslated Polish poet who also tapped into something deeply emotional that I never really quite came to grips with either (which is why I never reviewed it here on GR). One reoccurring theme throughout the collection is regarding art itself in all of its multifaceted forms. And these few lines, I thought, got closest to articulating the inexpressible thoughts and feelings this book evoked for me, its precise eloquence doing more justice to this topic than I ever could, so I'll just end this rambling review with it:

“Art casts a spell summoning life
so it can continue
but its space extends to the invisible
It is also an intelligence reconciling
discordant elements with similarities
It is brave
because it seeks immortality
by being—just like everything else—mortal”

-Julia Hartwig, “It is Also This”

Indeed.
...more
5

November 14, 2013

An Absorbing,Thrilling Account
After seeing the fascinating documentary of the same name, I was excited to find that it was based on this book. I have found this book absolutely absorbing. It is densely packed with intriguing information and detail.
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.
4

Apr 15, 2009

I have read "Rescuing Da Vinci" and also seen the DVD "The Rape of Europa", so I am now reading the original book that was the catalyst for the book and DVD. Lynn Nicholas is interviewed in the DVD and I decided to read her book and learn more.

******** after reading the book *********

Having read "Rescuing Da Vinci" and having watched the DVD "The Rape of Europa", I thought I would read the book that started it all. Lynn Nicholas, who is interviewed extensively on the DVD, wrote this book to I have read "Rescuing Da Vinci" and also seen the DVD "The Rape of Europa", so I am now reading the original book that was the catalyst for the book and DVD. Lynn Nicholas is interviewed in the DVD and I decided to read her book and learn more.

******** after reading the book *********

Having read "Rescuing Da Vinci" and having watched the DVD "The Rape of Europa", I thought I would read the book that started it all. Lynn Nicholas, who is interviewed extensively on the DVD, wrote this book to document the stunning history around the purchase / acquisition / theft of Europe's treasured works of art during WWII by the Nazis.

The book is dense, thick with details, heavy with names of dozens if not hundreds of art dealers and collectors along with museum curators from every nation in Europe. In some places, it is overwhelming in the detail and thoroughness. The path of art acquisition by Nazis in Holland, France, Austria, Italy is followed from the early years of Hitler's rise to power in Germany in the 1930's on into the early 1950's. Knowing what will happen, the book then begins to read like an adventure novel. Will the Monuments Men be organized in time to save SOME of the art objects? You know that they do, but the harrowing stories of rescue of treasures from barns, cow sheds, abandoned railway cars and more, simply emphasizes the hard work carried out by the men who were there.

What struck me in reading this book was that none of the Monuments men involved knew that they would be successful. They merely did the hard work of locating, listing, securing, packing, and preserving the art objects they worked hard to find and preserve. They fought for the art to be returned to original owners, from the countries where it had been stolen from. This flew in the face of many military opinions that thought the art objects obtained should go to "the victor". So while the process of stealing the art seemed like a well-oiled machine, the saving and restoration of these art objects seemed so difficult and full of conflict. It made me think of the section from "The Two Towers", when Frodo and Sam are discussing old tales and songs (chapter "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol").

Sam tells Frodo, " 'The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might way. But that's not the way it is with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually -- their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on -- and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same -- like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren't always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sot of tale we've fallen into?' "

The Monuments Men fell into a story that mattered, and they went on even when they had the chance to turn back. What an example for us all, to do the hard work in front of us because it is the right thing to do.
...more
4

Nov 12, 2010

It seems like a lot of readers found this unattractively dense and fact-packed, but I thoroughly enjoyed it - as much as one can enjoy a book largely about the looting of art treasures from Jews and other war victims. Nicholas meticulously researched her subject for years, combing through institutional archives and privately held papers and interviewing various surviving owners of the looted collections. It's a fascinating story, full of villains and heroes, one that hasn't ended yet; there are It seems like a lot of readers found this unattractively dense and fact-packed, but I thoroughly enjoyed it - as much as one can enjoy a book largely about the looting of art treasures from Jews and other war victims. Nicholas meticulously researched her subject for years, combing through institutional archives and privately held papers and interviewing various surviving owners of the looted collections. It's a fascinating story, full of villains and heroes, one that hasn't ended yet; there are still some masterpieces which have never been found. ...more
1

July 3, 2014

Need magnifying glass for the book printing
A lot of research went into the writing of this book, however, the print was microscopic. From glancing through this book it was an endless list of EVERY work of art in Europe that was pilfered by the German hierarchy, especially Hermann Goring.
This book was returned without being read.
4

November 11, 2015

Systematic Dismantling of Great Art and a Side of War Not Usually Discussed But Should Be
UPDATE (July 20, 2016): I ended up putting down this book about 1/3 of the way through in exasperation because it just became this muddled mess. You practically need a flowchart to make all the connections which the author hops forward and backwards to and I reverted to making note cards to remember all the key players involved. The subject matter is fascinating but despite wanting to learn more about art theft during WWII, I found myself conducting so much marginalia that I myself was practically writing a compendium. There are so many ways the author could have assisted the reader but essentially reading this book becomes a research project. I'd like to think that I'm smarter than the average bear but I think this book is aimed at a demographic of people who have advanced knowledge. I often wondered if this was a PhD thesis converted into a book marketed for the general population. There is a companion film of the same name which is very good and is why I wanted to read this book. But despite the usual saying that the book is always better than the movie, this is the exception and it pains me to say that.

Original Review: I am still in the beginnings of this paperback book. The subject matter is really intriguing and not until I saw the film (a few years back) based on the book did I give this subject much thought. After watching the movie I wanted to read the book, but unless you have a base knowledge of the art that the writer discusses or a good memory of the film which showed the art in question, then you are left to looking it up to have a fuller understanding. Also, separate knowledge of not only the major but also minor Nazis will make this book a fuller read. I don't normally need " pretty pictures" in my reading, but given the subject matter and the myriad of players involved, photos of at least the main surviving works mentioned and a short bio of the people involved you could flip back to. Unless detailed notes are provided by the author, I guess this is where reading on a Kindle or other book reader makes it easier because you can quickly and more easily flip back to your notes and highlights - which is what I normally do whenever a new person or character is introduced as a helpful guide for me because since I've become disabled I am a slower reader without the greatest of retention (not only in pace I read but also the amount of time I can spend reading at one sitting has greatly diminished). After reading a couple Kindle books, I usually find myself wanting the "feel" and "smell" of a good book in my hands so I will switch to a printed book. I wish I had chosen the Kindle version over print for this particular book. While the writing and subject is 5 star, I knocked off a star for the reasons mentioned above and really it is because of my own peccadillo. I don't know if the author couldn't get the rights (which is hard to believe) to include photos of at least the major art works, but it and a short bio in the Addendum (including the artists involved since I don't know a lot about Germanic art) would have made this book richer and given the reader a deeper reading experience and not left them wanting.
4

Nov 27, 2010

This one has some interesting choices in structure, and reads a little as if Nicholas were suffering from "I did all this research, so you're going to read about it!" syndrome. But very, very interesting.

All about the passions aroused by art in wartime. How to protect? How to find (by thief or otherwise)? To whom to return it?

Also I love the factoid learned here that Hitler was reading a biography of Ghengis Khan during the sack of Warsaw.
5

April 22, 2013

Classic Textbook on Wartime Art History
I have first encountered this book a few years ago at the Yad Vashem museum shop. Our guide told us that Yad Vashem considered this particular book to be the best record of stolen artwork by Nazi Germans. I was delighted when it came out in Kindle edition.

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.
5

December 31, 2013

Rape of Europa
This book is foundational in understanding how the Nazis plundered the art of Europe prior to WWII and beyond. The families who lost their treasures and family members are depicted with sensitivity. The monstrous Nazi socialist regime ruined lives and families through theft and destruction. Today we seek these art works in order to return them to their rightful owners. A moving story of heartache, theft, and what happens when the state is not checked by laws to protect citizens and their property. I highly recommend this work to everyone interested in art history, art theft, the Holocaust, socialist regimes, and the evil unleashed by the Nazis.
2

March 11, 2014

slow read
I guess I expected something more concise. This book is probably good for those who are very familiar with all artists, museum collections, curators, dealers and others involved in the art business. For me, it was way too much information.
3

June 30, 2014

Glad I got it. Couldn't finish it. Provocative.
This book evoked a lot of thought and emotion. It is not particularly well written, but it is provocative and comprehensive. After reading this book, I got a much better idea of the trajectory of events that occurred during and around WW II. I was amazed at the role artwork played in financing the war, and as trophies of the conquests made. I was appalled and enlightened by the manner in which laws were applied to "legitimize" art, and the steps that were taken when the art was not "legitimate". The annotated photos alone are worth a the price of the book. I bought the book as a Kindle Book and I was able to zoom in on the photos with the Kindle Fire.
4

Mar 02, 2009

World War II was, for a few, a historic opportunity to loot and pillage. And the theft of artwork, along with other forms of national treasure, was perfected and institutionalized on the grandest scale by the Nazis. Hitler was of course involved, but Goering was considerably more preoccupied. He stole, traded, and hoarded an enormous quantity of valuables (paintings, sculptures, tapestries, precious metals, gems, ceremonial objects, rare books, furniture, you name it) to fill his cavernous World War II was, for a few, a historic opportunity to loot and pillage. And the theft of artwork, along with other forms of national treasure, was perfected and institutionalized on the grandest scale by the Nazis. Hitler was of course involved, but Goering was considerably more preoccupied. He stole, traded, and hoarded an enormous quantity of valuables (paintings, sculptures, tapestries, precious metals, gems, ceremonial objects, rare books, furniture, you name it) to fill his cavernous estate at Carinhall.

I’m not an art devotee, but many episodes in this book were absolutely maddening. Here’s the pattern in country after country: Germany invades, the Nazis pick over every public and private art collection they can find, packing off the best to the Reich (first choice goes to Hitler for his Linz museum, second choice to Goering, and so on). And then the remaining “degenerate” artwork is used for barter or burned. Nearly as frustrating: priceless artwork used as tabletops, left to disintegrate in wet caverns, hacked apart by infantrymen bent on revenge.

The recovery effort was considerably more intricate than the thefts, and all of this is covered in rich detail by Nicholas. At points, not being familiar with many of the works discussed, I longed for a visual reference. I haven’t seen the PBS documentary based on The Rape of Europa, but for visuals, it might be a good complement to the book. Even without the tour guide, though, it was a very enjoyable read. ...more
5

Jul 22, 2008

i almost forgot that historical non-fiction can be a total tear-jerker. i got a little misty-eyed here and there when the author accounted for both allied and axis measures to protect art during the cultural holocaust of the 2nd ww. emotions aside, i admire how well-researched this book is, so hats off to lynn nicholas. if you have any interest or inclination toward this subject/era, its a good way to learn more about the 2nd ww esp. if you prefer an art history/cultural approach to the subject. i almost forgot that historical non-fiction can be a total tear-jerker. i got a little misty-eyed here and there when the author accounted for both allied and axis measures to protect art during the cultural holocaust of the 2nd ww. emotions aside, i admire how well-researched this book is, so hats off to lynn nicholas. if you have any interest or inclination toward this subject/era, its a good way to learn more about the 2nd ww esp. if you prefer an art history/cultural approach to the subject. this history takes the reader away from the war fronts, instead depicting the secondary battlefield of the arts, which nevertheless played a critical role in the battle strategies of the nazis in their attempt to reform european culture. ...more
5

March 15, 2014

A Story Far More Interesting than the Movie
Nicholds book was the initial history of the Nazi looting of Europe's treasures, for the most part from the homes of Jewish art collectors and commoisseurs, as well as hundreds of churches and synagogues (the shelves upon shelves of gold menorahs in the documentary on the book is startling). Winner of the National Book Critics Award, the subsequent book by Robert M. Edsel is a barely disguised copy of Lynne Nichols research and scholarship that revealed the extent of the "industrial looting" (Nichols' apt term)
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.
5

October 24, 2016

If you are museumfolk, this book will get you excited about your job again.
Imagine a tale where the action heroes are the curators and art historians, where the people in the invaded towns defend their art and history through ruses, intricate strategies and sometimes amazing feats of strenght and character. This is the kind of tale Lynn Nicholas is weaving here.

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.
2

November 12, 2014

Lacks passion
Tedious book. Full of details about what happened when, but reads like an encyclopedia article instead of a story about preserving important art.
2

April 28, 2014

Stolen Art
Really a boring read. Got tired of reading the same thing over and over. Just a compilation of facts rather than an enjoyable narrative on this subject.
2

March 6, 2014

Art work
It is a difficult read.The print is very small and it is very detailed.I would not recommend it. Sorry but that is my opinion.
2

December 19, 2012

didn't like it
It is a boring chain of facts which make the book hard to read even when the subject can be fascinating
3

January 14, 2015

Reminder of German Viciousness, the Scale of German Art Theft, and the Need for Action
Author Nicholas begins by detailing how Germany systematically stole enormous quantities of art, beginning with that of wealthy Jews in Germany and Austria - sometimes by direct confiscation, in others via requiring they be turned over to authorities as 'payment' for visas out of the country. At the same time, Germany sold off artwork by 'less-desirable' artists, using the proceeds to help fund its war preparations. Then, as war become increasingly likely, museums around Europe (including London) closed so that their collections could be shipped off to safer locations - Canada, Switzerland, castles, salt mines, vaults, country safe havens. Churches also attempted to safeguard their treasured artworks and altars in the same manner; cathedral windows were also removed and spirited away. Some of the wealthy followed suit, though in some cases their efforts were limited to eg. burying their silver in the back yard. In Spain, art lovers also managed to persuade Franco to suspend bombing long enough to remove artwork to safety in other nations.

Their fears were well-founded. Hitler's invasion of Poland was intentionally brutal, intended to not only seize territory but to also wipe out Polish culture. Residential areas and palaces were deliberately bombed, apparently without military reason. Desirable art was either placed under German protection or sent back to Germany. Synagogues were burnt or otherwise destroyed. Items from 'undesirables' were often destroyed, and high-quality items claimed to represent Polish culture were proclaimed to be of German provenance instead. Overall supervision of these efforts was provided by German art experts.

Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to summarize or get 'the big picture' from this book - partly because it take a geographical focus (instead of chronological), but mostly because it simply doesn't provide such information. Thus, one needs another source.

Harvard Magazine ('The Art Army' - Jan-Feb 2010) is a good source. It tells us that Nazi Germany may have stolen over 5 million cultural objects from the countries it conquered. Paul Sachs, director of the Fog Art Museum, was the leader. Fortunately, The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe, chaired by Supreme Court Justice Roberts ('the Roberts Commission), formed with Roosevelt's backing, was able to influence U.S. Army leaders - if the received direction from military officers who were available during or immediately after the fighting.

Eventually 15 men served - 8 Americans and 7 Britons, with only 8 actually in the field. The group was comprised of directors and curators. The volume and quality of art found in various hiding places was staggering.
3

Jun 17, 2008

Although it does often read like a laundry list of people, events, and places in art world of war-torn Europe during the late 30’s and 40’s, I will say I was in awe of Nicholas’s research into this often-ignored area of WWII history. His ability to explain human motivation and exploitation of artistic works of art in extreme minutiae is second to none. The description of the great mass of refuges from Belgium and the Netherlands who descended into France before the latter's fall – along with Although it does often read like a laundry list of people, events, and places in art world of war-torn Europe during the late 30’s and 40’s, I will say I was in awe of Nicholas’s research into this often-ignored area of WWII history. His ability to explain human motivation and exploitation of artistic works of art in extreme minutiae is second to none. The description of the great mass of refuges from Belgium and the Netherlands who descended into France before the latter's fall – along with massive truckloads of their artistic patrimony – stands as one the most unforgettable images that I will take away from this detailed expose. The Nazis as usual – and Himmler and Goering, in particular – walk away as a despicable coterie of power-control freaks and manipulators. If they weren’t bombing the hell out of Europe east and west, not to mention exterminating whole populations of ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities – not to mention anyone with a mental handicap – the Nazis were looting Europe of its masterpieces like kids at a candy store. Luckily for us today, just enough people throughout Europe had the prescience to inventory and hide away as much artwork as they could before the coming barbarian hordes of the Third Reich. Of course, it remains to be said that some works have been lost, forgotten, or even destroyed. Let’s just hope history doesn’t try and repeat itself. ...more
2

Sep 03, 2016

Another rating quandary...LH's research is astounding, her attention to detail unparalleled.; unfortunately it made my brain go into overload and I couldn't keep track of everything (anything?). I found the post WW2 debates on what to do with everything most interesting. It is fascinating to think of art still to be found. Bottom line, my rating is more to do with my attention span and less to do with the quality of writing.
5

Jan 26, 2011

Favorite bit, page 194-5: [in Leningrad]
"The guardians and their families would live for two long years in the basement below. Despite the cold and the terrible food, being museum people, they soon organized exhibitions from their holdings to maintain morale and to pass the long months of waiting."
Excellent history, and the documentary film made from this is So different, people should both read and watch!
4

May 28, 2008

This is a fascinating book about the looting of art in Europe during WWII. I enjoyed reading this book because the subject matter is very interesting. However, it is very dense and filled with hundreds of names, places, dates, and details. If you're interested in art history and conservation, then this book is perfect for you!

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