The RISD library has recently acquired “The Rape of Europa,” a documentary film tracing the Nazi theft of art during World War Two, and the allied armies’ efforts to recover the stolen artworks. The film has been praised both for its rare archive footage, and for its narrative structure, which keeps viewers completely absorbed in the story, despite the fact that the film is over two hours long. The documentary starts with an explanation of the Nazi concept of ‘Degenerate Art’, and it continues with an in-depth examination of the systematic looting policies of the German armies, as they invaded one European country after another. The Rape of Europa is also a meditation on the historical value of cultural artifacts, which has particular significance today, as the real scale of destruction of cultural artifacts in Iraq starts to become better known. Check this link for an interesting review of the film.
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