Synopsis by Mark Deming
Adolf Hitler spent years struggling to establish himself as an artist before his political ambitions rose to the surface and he brought the Nazi Party to power in Germany, and documentary filmmakers Richard Berge, Nicole Newnham, and Bonni Cohen offer a unique perspective on how Hitler's aesthetic viewpoint may have affected his nation's actions during World War II. The Rape of Europa examines the artistic tastes of Hitler and his leading advisors, and how they looted many of the great museums and private art collections of Europe during the course of World War II in order to stock museums built during the Third Reich (and benefit the collections of Germany's leaders). In addition, Axis forces actively participated in raids to destroy artwork and artifacts from nations and cultures Hitler regarded as "degenerate," serving as a curious parallel to "the Final Solution" that left six million dead. The film features rare newsreel footage and photographs documenting the Nazis' obsession with art; Joan Allen narrates.
art-collection, art-theft, artifact, destruction, Europe, museum, Nazi, newsreels, pillaging, restoration