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The rape of Europa : the fate of Europe's treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War

Author: Lynn H Nicholas
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 1994.
Edition/Format:   Book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The treasures of Quedlinburg ... the Trojan gold ... the Amber Room. These fabled objects are only the tiny summit of an immense mountain of artifacts - artistic, religious, historic - that were sold, confiscated, stolen, dismembered, defaced, destroyed, or buried as Europe succumbed first to the greed and fury of the Nazis and then to the ravages of war. Now, in a riveting account brimming with tales of courage and
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Genre/Form: Art
Art and the war
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Nicholas, Lynn H.
Rape of Europa.
New York : Knopf, 1994
(OCoLC)607764390
Online version:
Nicholas, Lynn H.
Rape of Europa.
New York : Knopf, 1994
(OCoLC)623809270
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Lynn H Nicholas
ISBN: 0679400699 9780679400691
OCLC Number: 28292304
Notes: The Mazal Holocaust Collection.
Description: x, 498 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: I. Prologue: They Had Four Years: Germany Before the War: The Nazi Art Purges --
II. Period of Adjustment: The Nazi Collectors Organize; Austria Provides, Europe Hides --
III. Eastern Orientations: Poland, 1939-1945 --
IV. Lives and Property: Invasion of the West; The Nazi Art Machine in Holland --
V. Lenity and Cruelty: Occupied France: Protection and Confiscation --
VI. Business and Pleasure: France: The Art Market Flourishes; Nazi Kultur Withers --
VII. Plus ca change: The Invasion of the Soviet Union --
VIII. Inch by Inch: The Launching of the Allied Protection Effort --
IX. The Red-Hot Rake: Italy, 1943-1945 --
X. Touch and Go: The Allies Take Over: Northern Europe, 1944-1945 --
XI. Ashes and Darkness: Treasure Hunts in the Ruined Reich, 1945 --
XII. Mixed Motives: The Temptation of Germany's Homeless Collections --
XIII. The Art of the Possible: Fifty Years of Restitution and Recovery.
Responsibility: Lynn H. Nicholas.
More information:

Abstract:

The treasures of Quedlinburg ... the Trojan gold ... the Amber Room. These fabled objects are only the tiny summit of an immense mountain of artifacts - artistic, religious, historic - that were sold, confiscated, stolen, dismembered, defaced, destroyed, or buried as Europe succumbed first to the greed and fury of the Nazis and then to the ravages of war. Now, in a riveting account brimming with tales of courage and sacrifice, of venality and beastliness, Lynn H. Nicholas meticulously reconstructs the full story of this act of cultural rape and its aftermath. In doing so, she offers a new perspective on the history of the Third Reich and of World War II.

From the day Hitler came to power, art was a matter of highest priority to the Reich. He and other Nazis (especially Hermann Goering) were ravenous collectors, stopping at nothing to acquire paintings and sculpture, as well as coins, books, tapestries, jewels, furniture - everything. Their insatiable appetite (feared by the museum directors who sent their collections into hiding as war loomed) whipped the international art market into a frenzy of often sleazy dealing. When the German occupation of Poland, France, the Low Countries, and finally Italy began, a colossal wave of organized and casual pillage stripped entire countries of their heritage as works of art were subjected to confiscation, wanton destruction, concealment in damp mines, and perilous transport across combat zones.

Meanwhile, in Washington and London curators and scholars campaigned energetically to convince President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and, most importantly, General Dwight Eisenhower to add the protection of art and edifices to the Allied invasion agenda. The landings in Italy and France, and the ultimate victory of the Allies, brought a dedicated corps of "Monuments officers" to the ravaged continent. On the front lines or immediately behind, they shored up bombed churches, cleaned the vandalized buildings and collections, and rescued great masterpieces such as the Ghent altarpiece from the mines. The Monuments officers spent six years locating and sorting huge repositories of treasure, and restoring their contents to museums and surviving owners. But much that was destroyed or stolen (by the Nazis and Soviets in organized looting and by individuals of all nations) has never been found. It is a story without an ending.

More revelations can be expected in years to come. The facts behind these events will be clear and the human stories deeply moving to all who read Lynn H. Nicholas's impeccably researched, engagingly written account of the rapacity, horror, devotion, and heroism that characterized a unique and terrible era.

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Linked Data


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