I just watched a fascinating documentary entitled The Rape of Europa. It focuses on how the Nazis during World War 2 plundered art work from all the countries they conquered throughout Europe. There was a particular focus on Jewish families, from whom much was stolen.
From the film I learned several things which I had previously not known:
- During his teen years Adolf Hitler was an aspiring artist in Austria. He was rejected from entering the prestigious Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and some say that this inflamed his hatred toward Jews, as many artists of the time admitted into this school were Jewish.
- The American military had a special group of 200 Monument Men, whose sole purpose was to rescue and preserve paintings, sculptures, and architecture.
- I have been to Pisa, Italy but had no idea that the main attraction used to be the Camposanto, a monumental cemetery, and not the leaning tower. But the Camposanto was so badly damaged during WW2 that it lost all of its world renowned frescoes.
- Hitler had long planned to build an enormous museum in his honour in Linz, Austria, the town that he referred to as his hometown, even though it really wasn't. This museum was slated to be by far the largest in the world.