The Rape of Europa

by Lynn Nicholas

Library Journal : First-time author Nicholas presents a poorly written survey of the traffic in art under the Nazi regime, first in Germany and then in occupied Europe. She has a great deal of information, but it is not presented clearly or consistently. Nicholas has worked extensively with original documents and secondary works to reconstruct the German confiscation of art across the Continent, not just from Jews but from individuals and institutions in every country. Part cultural policy, part individual cupidity-especially by Goering-part egomania (Hitler's plans for a great museum in Linz), the ``rape of Europe'' makes for an engrossing story, but it is beyond the author's powers to deal with this story at more than an anecdotal level. While more limited in scope, firsthand accounts like Craig Smyth's Repatriation of Art from the Collecting Point in Munich After World War II (Abner Schram, 1988) are preferable. Pass on this.-Jack Perry Brown, Art Inst. of Chicago Lib.

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : ``Never had works of art been so important to a political movement and never had they been moved about on such a vast scale.'' Nicholas's lavishly illustrated work chronicles the transfer, trading and looting of a large proportion of Europe's cultural treasures by the Nazis and the recovery of most of them during the Allied counterattack and early postwar years. She describes the Nazis' attempt to ``purify'' the world of ``degenerate'' art and their orgy of destruction, confiscation and theft, and reveals how curators at the Louvre in Paris, the Uffizi in Florence and other great museums supervised the removal of objects d'art to places of safety that included mine shafts and remote chateaux in anticipation of the German onslaught. Among these treasures were such masterpieces of sculpture and oils as Winged Victory of Samothrace and Van Gogh's Dr. Gachet , tapestries, church altars, crown jewels, literary manuscripts and symphonic scores. Nicholas's detailed account, meticulously researched in museum archives and supplemented with interviews, brings into focus the men and women who took responsibility for the protection, preservation, rescue and restoration of the artistic patrimony of Europe. Ambitious and fully realized, the book is a major contribution to the history of art; and first-time author Nicholas, an academic researcher of European history, shows herself to be a writer of notable talent.

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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