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The Rape of Europa
The Rape of Europa
Actor: Joan Allen
Director: Richard Berge;Bonni Cohen;Nicole Newnham
Genres: Indie & Art House, Educational, Documentary
NR     2008     1hr 57min

Studio: Repnet Llc Release Date: 09/16/2008


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Movie Details

Actor: Joan Allen
Director: Richard Berge;Bonni Cohen;Nicole Newnham
Genres: Indie & Art House, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Educational, History
Studio: Menemsha Films
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 09/16/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 57min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 16
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A new slant on history
Beverly M. Carl | Santa Fe,New Mexico,US | 01/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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!"
The Rape of Europa
anarchteacher | United States | 05/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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 *****

Nazi's Art Plundering During World War II
Chris Luallen | Nashville, Tennessee | 07/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."
Are we complicit in all this? Some of us would have been. Ci
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 05/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."