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The Rape of Europa
Format: DVD|Change
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on April 1, 2013
One of those documentaries that grows in impact as it goes along. For the first hour or so I found this study of the Nazi's plundering
and stealing Europe's great works of art, along with the allies attempts to spare art during the war, intellectually interesting, but a bit
dry and even repetitive.

But as the film moves on to the aftermath of the war, and we get more of the human side of the story. Great art treasures are returned
to the lands whose cultures they represent and we see the joy that it brings. We hear both sides of the Russian debate about keeping
the art they took from Germany as a sort of reparation for the horrible human cost of the war. We see restorations still going on 60 years
later with care and passion. We get to know a Christian German who has made it his mission to return beautiful and intricate Torah scroll
caps to their rightful Jewish owners. And in the process the film blossoms into a very human examination of just how important art is to
human beings and to our sense of selves.

Ultimately, what starts feeling like a somewhat academic exercise ends up as a very moving and personal documentary.
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on April 17, 2017
The Rape of Europa is a superb documentary. One of the lesser known tragedies of Adolph Hitler's rampage through Europe between 1939-1945 was the theft or destruction of so much of the art that belonged to the countries occupied by the Third Reich. Uncounted thousands of pieces of art were stolen from private and public collections or were simply destroyed by the Germans simply because they had the power to do so at that time. The surviving film, photographs and stories of the efforts of the art custodians in cultural centers like Paris and Saint Petersburg are nothing short of amazing.

One of the better known examples of private art that was stolen and lost for decades was the subject of the excellent 2015 movie "Woman in Gold." That is just one example.
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on February 17, 2013
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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on February 3, 2011
The Rape of Europa is an excellent film for those exploring the exploitation of European art by the Germans in WWII. I had traveled to some of the locations in Florence and was surprised to find out that much of the artwork, including Ghiberti's bronze doors on the Florence Cathedral, had been shipped out during the war.

Particularly compelling is the story of struggle by Maria Altmann, a beautiful and elegant 90-year-old, whose aunt was Adele Bloch. The Bloch family commissioned Klimt to paint the portrait, yet it, along with several other Klimt paintings, was stolen from her family home by the Nazis in 1938. The painting was hanging in the Austrian National Gallery for years, as the Austrians consider it their "Mona Lisa." Through sheer will and determination, and a bit of luck, Altmann finally obtained ownership of her aunt's portrait and the other pieces.

If you are an art and history lover, this film is for you, taking you from the Hermitage in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) to all over Italy. It is a gem like the pieces of work it chronicles.
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on August 12, 2014
excellent documentary showing the horrible acquisition of art by the Nazis as they goose stepped across Europe. Much of the art confiscated was eventually damaged or destroyed as the fate of the 3rd Reich became clear. Many of the artworks owned by Jewish families and held by countries conquered by the Nazis are lost to the world and those losses are tragic. The group of American G.I.s who was tasked with trying to find the art and restore it to the rightful owners were true heroes. Another surprising hero was a woman in Paris who made careful notes of all the works the Nazis stole from the Louvre and Paris. Her documentation done in secret helped many of the masterpieces return to their rightful owners.
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on March 6, 2014
We all need to be reminded of the terrors of war and of the courage of people under attack. The images of the citizens of Paris removing almost all of the art from the Louvre just before Hitler's army marched into that beautiful city will both warm and break your heart. If you have never seen Paris, if you have never visited the Louvre and gazed in wonder at the Mona Lisa, the magnificent Winged Victory of Samothrace or the thousands of pieces of art which rest within that wonderful museum, if you have never ascended to the top of the Eiffel Tower and gazed at the City of Paris laid out before you, then this incredible documentary, a work of art within itself, will make you feel as though you have walked the streets, lived its history, been a citizen of France and Europe, at least for a while. This film is a remarkable achievement, both in scope, its lessons of courage in the face of real danger, of how man sometimes reacts to save himself and those he loves, to save our history and the art which we love, all of which are such vital parts of our lives and our heritage. There are few films more worthy of praise than this.
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on August 15, 2017
Previously I had a source which streamed it to me; I was very pleased with that. After some time, it vanished from those I received by streaming. In its place I was offered a version which was at a given cost for each season; it hadn't been in "seasons" before. At that point I decided to purchase the DVD. After watching the DVD, I realized that at least one of the scenes which I had previously seen was cut from the DVD. I am not particularly happy about that, but I do not intend to purchase the version now available by the season. Otherwise I am pleased with the product.
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on October 16, 2017
I love this documentary, and wanted to have a copy in my library to loan to friends. Unfortunately, this copy (which was supposed to be new) showed up scratched. Having seen the documentary before, I didn't watch the entire thing as soon as it arrived, I just watched a few scenes to be sure it worked and wasn't a bootleg copy. When I finally sat down to watch the entire thing, the DVD froze less than halfway through and would not continue.

Very disappointed with the quality, especially for a DVD fulfilled by Amazon.
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on March 11, 2017
We rented this movie and were once again reminded of the horror of the Nazi's. This documentary was the impetus behind George Clooney's movie "Monuments Men". We've recommended this film to family and friends so decided to buy it for ourselves and to share.
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on December 23, 2015
Gives very detailed but concise summary of the problem of Nazi looting and the complex situation and enormous task the Allies faced trying to rectify it.

If you see no other movie about this often overlooked part of WW2, I would recommend it be this one. And if you see it before you see the docudrama "The Monuments Men," then that movie will make more sense and seem a good movie (which it is). It will just make more sense if you see this first.
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