Recently George Clooney wrote and directed The Monuments Men, a true story about a World War II platoon, requested by FDR, to go into Nazi Germany and recover artistic masterpieces. Clooney’s vision of the war story, from what I’ve heard, despite its low Rotten Tomatoes rating, is “engaging,” but restrained. The 2006 PBS documentary, based on the 1994 book, The Rape of Europa is ridiculous. Rejected by Austria’s top art academies, it portrays Hitler as a frustrated artist that sought to set things right in the art world, as he saw it. Apparently all of Nazis’s leaders were avid art collectors. It all spawned from Hitler himself who was a painter, not a talented one, but he painted. He amassed hundreds of masterpieces for his own personal collection. Read the official description and watch the trailer below.
THE RAPE OF EUROPA tells the epic story of the systematic theft, deliberate destruction and miraculous survival of Europe’s art treasures during the Third Reich and World War II. In a journey through seven countries, the film takes viewers into the violent whirlwind of fanaticism, greed, and warfare that threatened to wipe out the artistic heritage of Europe. For twelve long years, the Nazis looted and destroyed art on a scale unprecedented in history. But heroic young art historians and curators from America and across Europe fought back with an extraordinary campaign to rescue and return the millions of lost, hidden and stolen treasures. Now, more than sixty years later, the legacy of this tragic history continues to play out as families of looted collectors recover major works of art, conservators repair battle damage, and nations fight over the fate of ill-gotten spoils of war. Joan Allen narrates this breathtaking chronicle about the battle over the very survival of centuries of western culture.
The Rape of Europa Trailer
Lynn H. Nicholas, author of the book The Rape of Europa lectures at Clark (2010)
The Monuments Men Trailer (2013)