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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nazi's Art Plundering During World War II
As a young man Hilter was an aspiring but mediocre painter. But Hitler's artistic ambitions were thwarted when he was not accepted into the Academy Of Fine Arts in Vienna. Many of those on the admission board were apparently Jewish and some historians blame this rejection as playing an important role in the development of Hitler's rabid anti-Semitism.

This doc...
Published on July 12, 2008 by Chris Luallen

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28 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed Premise
The Rape of Europa recounts the story of Hitler's rejection from the Vienna School of Art and suggests that because he failed to get into art school he made the plundering of art a priority during WWII.

Without a doubt, Hitler was a thief. But I think it's a mistake to link these events as causal. Hitler stole everything he could get his hands on to pay for...
Published on February 27, 2009 by SORE EYES


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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nazi's Art Plundering During World War II, July 12, 2008
By 
Chris Luallen (Nashville, Tennessee) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rape of Europa (DVD)
As a young man Hilter was an aspiring but mediocre painter. But Hitler's artistic ambitions were thwarted when he was not accepted into the Academy Of Fine Arts in Vienna. Many of those on the admission board were apparently Jewish and some historians blame this rejection as playing an important role in the development of Hitler's rabid anti-Semitism.

This doc begins with a discussion of the Nazi's hatred of modern art, which they considered a "degenerate" Jewish form, and their obsession with collecting classical works of art. From there the film proceeds chronologically through the German invasions of Austria, Poland, France and Russia. In each place the Nazis plundered great works of art. Some were taken into private collections, such as the vast number owned by Hermann Goering, the Nazi's second in command. Others were placed in storage, with Hilter's ultimate goal being to create a massive Fuhrer Museum in his hometown of Linz, Austria.

Fortunately, massive evacuations were undertaken at the Louvre in Paris and the Hermitage in Leningard, which successfully hid numerous works of classic art from theft by the Nazis. But it wasn't only the Germans who did the plundering. The Soviets also engaged in massive looting of German art during their raids on Berlin. Also some Italian art and architecture was destroyed by American bombing. But, to their credit, the Americans also begin sending in Monuments Men who were entrusted with helping preserve art from further destruction and confiscating the works that had being stolen by the Germans.

The film contains a mix of extraordinary archival footage with narration by Joan Allen and interviews with various art historians and others. At close to 2 hours, it is rather long for a documentary and some may find it slow at times. But with it's primary purpose education rather than entertainment, it is best appreciated by those with a strong interest in European art and Nazi atrocities. It is a very well made documentary, however, and comes highly recommeded to those with at least some interest in the subject matter.
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rape of Europa, May 1, 2008
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This review is from: The Rape of Europa (DVD)
Quite simply, this is the best documentary I have seen in the past thirty years.

As an instructor in 20th Century World History I have viewed hundreds of films relating to the Second World War. This is the primary area I focus upon with my students.

The Rape of Europa is exceptionable film making and is unlike any other documentary both in its outstanding storyline and engaging cinematic presentation.

Well over ninety-percent of the photographic imagery and historical background content was absolutely new to me.

This is a film everyone should view and own in DVD format for their personal or family collection.

I urge every educator to purchase a copy for their classroom, every librarian for their institutional patrons.

My Highest Recommendation *****
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new slant on history, January 5, 2008
This review is from: The Rape of Europa (DVD)
Incredible, amazing, unforgettable. Raises numerous unanswerable questions. To what extent did Hitler's actions stem from his rejection by the Viennese art school. Unsung heroes abound--from museum personnel to monuments men. Deservedly, the film seems to run forever in our small town of Santa Fe, NM. Still no end in sight. DON'T MISS!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest WW2 documentaries, September 11, 2008
This review is from: The Rape of Europa (DVD)
I am a huge WW2 buff and I own at least 40-50 documentaries and movies. This is one of the most interesting aspects of WW2 that no one really knows about. You also will not find any other DVDs on this subject. If you are a art and WW2 fan like I am, this movie is heaven. I read most of the book but I found it to be boring. The movie blew away the book as it keeps you tuned in from the beginning to end. The film provides great Nazi footage that even I had not seen and great witness recounts.The length of the movie was perfect and for all I am concerned, it could have been even longer since that I was enjoying it so much. However, it was really sad to see that Warsaw castle was completely destroyed and the amazing frescoes in Italy that were damaged beyond repair. This is definitely a collector's item.The Rape of Europa
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are we complicit in all this? Some of us would have been. Civilization depends on those who would not be, May 25, 2008
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rape of Europa (DVD)
How much is a life worth? How much is a great cultural work of art worth? It's impossible to assign a value to either, except to say they both are invaluable. The Rape of Europa is a fine, fascinating documentary about the German plunder of significant art during WWII, organized as meticulously as the Germans organized the murder of millions of human beings. This film illustrates and explains the wholesale looting on a vast scale of easily a fifth of Europe's significant cultural treasures. And where these treasures were considered a part of Jewish or Slavic culture, they were destroyed.

While the Nazi leaders were psychopathic, racist thugs, it's important to remember that their crimes were made possible by all those German men and women, mostly not Nazis, who worked each day at making stealing and killing possible, then returned to their homes to play with their children, eat their braised rabbit, make love to their spouses and then start the next day again. One can't plead ignorance when one is filling a syringe with poison in a mental institution, or attaching explosives to a beautiful Renaissance bridge, or typing an order for more pencils while smelling the near-by crematoriums at work. This is the banality of evil that makes widespread evil possible.

Hitler was fascinated by art. He considered himself an artist of the first rank. As German dictator, he was determined to bring to Germany all the great art of Europe. He had plans for a huge art museum at Linz, his childhood home. He determined what was good art and was not art (modern art was Jewish art, in his view, and should be destroyed). With German thoroughness, his minions drew up of lists of cultural treasures, raided public and private museums in occupied countries, destroyed what they disapproved up, and organized incredible amounts of transport to bring this art into Germany. All the while, taking their cue from Hitler and Goering, Nazi functionaries and German Army officer suddenly became passionate art collectors. All they had to do was take what they wanted. German bureaucrats knew what they were after even as German troops invaded a country. For Slavic countries like Poland, it was a matter more of destroying a culture than taking the art. When German soldiers were at the front in need of clothes, ammunition and supplies, when gasoline was always in short supply, thousands of boxcars were filled with looted art and sent by special trains back to Germany, continuing even as the war was almost over.

When Allied bombing began in earnest and when the invasion of Italy began, it became clear that, while the Allies did not know the extent of German looting, widespread destruction of Europe's cultural heritage by the Allies should be avoided where possible. Thanks to Dwight Eisenhower, a small group of young American artists, curators and art historians were recruited to join the Army and identify and try to preserve what they could as the fighting moved forward. These men, called the monuments men, are the heroes of this story. There were fewer than four hundred of them doing a risky job with few resources and not much clout. They performed incredible feats of preservation, working to save great art and return it from where it was looted. If the first half of The Rape of Europa is shocking, even after so many years have passed, the second half is almost redeeming. For these men, several of whom are interviewed, their work was clearly intensely satisfying. They were saving an essential part of what makes us civilized.

The Rape of Europa covers a great deal of ground, perhaps too much, but it all is fascinating. Probably separate documentaries could be made about the immense effort it has been taking to make museums today return works of art they possess to the descendants of those who once owned the art...or to the young German who now has undertaken to return looted Torah crowns to the Jewish descendants...or the huge work during the war of museum curators and staff to pack and hide their museums' art from the Germans...or to the middle-aged, unremarkable French woman who was able to secretly keep lists of individual works of art and their destinations that the Germans were sending out of Paris...or the behavior of the German armies in Italy who destroyed without rational reason great historical buildings and bridges as they retreated north...or all that art the Soviets looted from Germany which now sits in the thousands in the basements of Russian museums.

What separates humanity from other animals is that we create art...and that we are so easily led to destroy the art we create, as well as to kill vast numbers of our brothers and sisters.

This is an excellent documentary, written and directed by Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen and Nicole Newnham. It's based on the book by Lynn Nicholas. Wartime and post-war film footage is used extensively, as well as current interviews. Joan Allen is the narrator.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What's in the Collector's Edition?, February 17, 2013
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I am writing this for people interested in the Collector's Edition and wondering what the stuff on the other two DVDs consist of.

The first DVD contains the original documentary, which tells the story of the well-organised and premeditated looting of Europe's artistic masterpieces by the Nazis. It's a great and not previously much-aired story, well told. Sometimes it seems like Hitler's desire to steal the best art from across Europe for his own museum was not the least of his reasons for waging war.

The second DVD contains basically extended versions of the interviews edited into the documentary. Some of the extra material thereby aired is a bit tedious, but mostly it adds, usually covering the less art-related side of the stories but often engrossing nonetheless.

The extra content on the third DVD is much more art-related. It ranges from deeper delvings into the repatriation issue and the moral, legal and financial factors involved. For me this evidence of the more distant relatives of the victims of brutal art theft now taking a less public-spirited and more selfish attitude to these works, which should belong to us all, forms a strong contrast to the selfless devotion of the heroes of the film, who I'm sure would not be pleased to know that their efforts have, in some cases, ended in works now languishing in vaults rather than shining out from the walls of museums. These heroes now include those working to protect all our patrimony in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. This last topic is impressively covered on the third disc too. There's also some fascinating background to the Czartoryski Museum, the home of Leonardo's `Lady with an Ermine'.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important documentaries of our time, August 27, 2008
By 
Natasha (Portland, OR, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Rape of Europa (DVD)
This is one film that everyone should see whether they're interested in art or not. It deals with issues that are much deeper than simply the disappearance of significant works of art. It provides interesting insight into the midset and mentality of the Third Reich, shedding light on an aspect of their actions not commonly addressed. That aspect is the significant role of art collecting in the hierarchy and advancement within the Nazi party. One realizes that the mass pillaging of museums and galleries was more than an act of greed, but actually played into a much larger plan and vision that Hitler desperately held on to.

Historically it is fascinating and enlightening, but emotionally it is one of the most moving and touching films I have seen. The combination of footage, personal stories, and historical fact touches and stirs the deepest feelings of humanity and really gets to the core of what it is to be human. While I always understod the devastation Europe suffered at the hands of Hitler, for the first time I FELT the devastation. By far the most moving film I have ever seen.

Everyone must see this film. It is absolutely necessary for really understanding and grasping the consequences of what happened during WWII.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important docs of all time! TRAILER, September 17, 2008
By 
Lesser Knowns (San Mateo, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Rape of Europa (DVD)
Length:: 2:44 Mins

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely interesting documentary, December 5, 2008
By 
C. B Collins Jr. (Atlanta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rape of Europa (DVD)
This film focuses on an aspect of World War II that is often missed, which is the massive systematic theft of the art treasures of Europe by the Nazis. Adolph Hitler, a frustrated artist, brought the considerable forces of the Third Reich to not only produce the Holocaust, but to engage in massive theft of art which he admired and the destruction of art and culture which he despised.

In the film, we learn of Hitler's ambitions as an artist and his philosophy of art and imagery. Social Realism eventually became his primary focus, and he supported German artists who portrayed the German people as idealistic, beautiful, god-like family-loving creatures. He also knew what he did not like, which was works by Jews and works influenced by the modernist movement. He supported an exhibition of degenerate art pulled from Germany's museums and sold at bargain basement prices after the show. These include the works of Edvard Munch, Emile Nolde, Max Beckman, Kathe Kollwitz, Egon Schiele, Arnold Schoenberg, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, and Vassily Kandinsky.

The film also takes us into the surreal world of drug addicted Hermann Goering, the second most powerful man in Germany. Goering stole art at a terrific rate, collecting over 1700 masterpiece works of art in his mountain hunting lodge alone.

As Germany invades Poland, we see the destruction of great Slavic treasures by the Nazi front line troops. The Slavic people were judged to be inferior to the Germans and thus Hitler could care less about preservation of their heritage.

The evacuation of the Louvre was a spectacular part of the film, demonstrating the commitment, creativity, and bravery of the French people in taking all the art from the Louvre and hiding it in the French countryside. The story of the packaging and hiding of the Winged Victory was an inspiration. The story is told of a young French woman clerk who works in the Jeaux de Paume which the Nazis used as a storehouse for the French art they were able to obtain to ship back to Germany. This young woman did not let the German's know that she could read and write German and thus she was able to learn where many art works had been stolen and where they had been sent. Each day when she went home she wrote in a personal diary everything she could remember about the thefts and their destinations which she learned from reading labels on crates. What a wonderful film this true episode might make.

The invasion of Russia threatened the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Like the Louvre, the people endured great hardship to hide and protect the art treasures of Russia.

General Eisenhower created the Monuments Men, a group of artists and art historians that advised on war maneuvers so as to produce the least amount of harm and destruction when fighting the Nazis and driving them out of Greece, Italy, and France. The story of the Monuments Men also would make a fantastic stand alone film.

The film focuses on the Gustav Klimt painting of a portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, a wealthy Jewish patron of the arts in Vienna. The controversy over this painting was fascinating, including how to interpret a will written in a happier time.

The tragedies of the destruction of the Monastery of Monte Cassino, the Renaissance bridge in Florence, and the Capisanto in Pisa were well explained.

Overall the film is excellent and is a testimony of how great art is an inspiration to a nation and how the people of free nations will sacrifice for the preservation of their cultural heritage.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rape of Europa , Collecor's Edition, January 16, 2009
By 
diana (Skokie, IL USA) - See all my reviews
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This set of 3 DVD's is an extraordinary humpty- dumpty story of the great art of Europe and the horses and men who eventually put most of it all back together again. I was mesmerized by the many hours of eye witness reports that documented this horror. The only criticism I have is that the first DVD, a complete copy of the television documentary of the same name, has no "chapters" so that it must be watched in its entirety in one sitting. If it is turned off at any point it must be started again at the beginning. The other two discs, being the "out-takes" from the program itself, are presented in chapter form so that starting and stopping is a definite option, as is the ability to pick and choose what to see and in what order. I wholeheartedly recommend that all persons who have any interest in art, or WWII or the convoluted minds of the leaders of the 3rd Reich view this collection.
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The Rape of Europa
The Rape of Europa by Nicole Newnham (DVD - 2008)
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