7.7/10
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23 user 37 critic

The Rape of Europa (2006)

The story of Nazi Germany's plundering of Europe's great works of art during World War II and Allied efforts to minimize the damage.

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Narrator
E. Randol Schoenberg ...
Himself
Maria Altmann ...
Herself
Wolfgang Fischer ...
Himself
Jonathan Petropoulos ...
Himself
Kenneth Lindsay ...
Himself
Lynn Nicholas ...
Herself
Nancy Yeide ...
Herself
Gottfried Toman ...
Himself
S. Laine Faison ...
Himself
Andrej Kamienski ...
Himself
Maria Osterwa Czekaj ...
Herself
Monika Kuhnke ...
Herself
Count Adam Zamoyski ...
Himself
Vincent Pomarède ...
Himself
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Storyline

THE RAPE OF EUROPA takes the audience on a journey through seven countries telling a story of greed and warfare that threatened the artistic heritage of Europe. For twelve years, the Nazis looted and destroyed art. Young art historians and curators from America and across Europe fought back, mounting a campaign to rescue and return countless art works displaced by the war. Joan Allen narrates this chronicle about the battle over centuries of western culture. Written by Actual Films

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Imagine The World Without Our Masterpieces


Certificate:

Unrated
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Details

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Release Date:

12 November 2006 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

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(35 mm version)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in The Monuments Men (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Monuments Men without the smirk
12 February 2014 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Watching the 2014 release of The Monuments Men inspired me to re-watch this fascinating documentary on the same subject. Thanks to the interviews of real life Monuments Men like Harry Ettlinger, Kenneth Lindsay, Charles Parkhurst and Bernard Taper, we better understand the overwhelming mission these folks were on, and how even today, some battles wage on over the rightful owners of artwork.

To drive home the point that there is more at stake than just pride, the case of Klimt's "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" is studied. Adele's niece continued her litigation against Austria until a court finally awarded her the painting (and 3 others). She sold "Adele" for $135 million to a collector. So clearly the cause is not just for mother country. Economics play a huge role. Regardless, the more interesting portion of the story is the relentless pursuit of stolen artwork, artifacts, furniture and collectibles, and the attempts to return them to the rightful owners. That, combined with the devastating architecture destruction brought on by WWII, really make it a bittersweet story.

The breathtaking photographs and archival film footage provide a clear understanding of the breadth of destruction. Seeing the before and after of the Monte Cassino monastery is just crushing. Gaining perspective on the damaged frescoes, some dating to 1360, when Pisa's Camposanto was bombed drives home the significance of culture and history. Seeing the aftermath of the bombing of Florence's iconic bridges brings tears to the eyes. The most impressive piece is that so much of Europe has been rebuilt in the past 7 decades. Maybe that goes to answer the question of whether a human life is worth protecting art. People survive and find a way ... even if Rafael's "Portrait of a Young Man" is still missing.

This is based on the book by the Lynn Nicholas, and the film does a terrific job of presenting how the war impacted Russia, Germany, Italy, France, Austria and Poland. It's also tough to reconcile, as one of the Monuments Men attempts, the idea that the Nazis were so careful with the stolen artwork while simultaneously exterminating so many Jewish people. Maybe things would have been different if a young Adolph Hitler had been accepted to art school.


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