Rape of Europa

Fascinating look at the way Hitler…nearly pulled off the biggest art heist in Western history...straight out of [a] Hollywood thriller.


The Rape of Europa

The Rape of Europa tells the epic story of the systematic theft, deliberate destruction and miraculous survival of Europe’s art treasures during the Third Reich and the Second World War.

In a journey through seven countries, the film takes the audience into the violent whirlwind of fanaticism, greed, and warfare that threatened to wipe out the artistic heritage of Europe. For twelve long years, the Nazis looted and destroyed art on a scale unprecedented in history. But young art professionals as well as ordinary heroes, from truck drivers to department store clerks, fought back with an extraordinary effort to safeguard, rescue and return the millions of lost, hidden and stolen treasures.

The Rape of Euro
pa begins and ends with the story of artist Gustav Klimt’s famed Gold Portrait, stolen from Viennese Jews in 1938 and now the most expensive painting ever sold.

Today, more than sixty years later, the legacy of this tragic history continues to play out as families of looted collectors recover major works of art, conservators repair battle damage, and nations fight over the fate of ill-gotten spoils of war.

Joan Allen narrates this breathtaking chronicle about the battle over the very survival of centuries of western culture.

“THE RAPE OF EUROPA is the better, more even movie and after seeing
The Monuments Men I’d recommend viewing THE RAPE OF EUROPA. If you must see only one, THE RAPE OF EUROPA is the better choice.” (Jana Monji, Pasadena Arts Beat)

“Vast and involving.” (Kenneth Turan,
L.A. Times)

“A rare achievement . . . informative as well as vastly entertaining.” (Edward Goldman, KCRW’s
Art Talk)
“Riveting . . . a history lesson dressed as a measured thriller.” (Ernest Hardy, L.A.

“A documentary on the same subject, THE RAPE OF EUROPA, is far more compelling than director/co-writer/co-star George Clooney’s superficial look at an unlikely mission by a cadre of museum directors, art historians and curators. (The documentary focused on how the Nazis looted Europe’s great museums and private art collections with the intent of stocking a Third Reich museum).” (Claudia Puig,
USA Today)

“If you want to actually explore the history behind MONUMENTS MEN, I highly suggest watching THE RAPE OF EUROPA – which is all about the plundering of Europe by the Nazis.” (Harry Knowles,
Ain’t It Cool News)

“The doc is an excellent survey of the techniques employed by the Third Reich to not just demoralize but de-historicize the countries they invaded.” (Michelle Orange, Village

“The issues raised by
The Rape of Europa, a documentary about the Nazi pillaging of art and the Allied effort to return it, can’t be conveniently consigned to the dustbin of history. This story is still playing out, contentiously and emotionally, as art is recovered and heirs sue for restitution. (The case of Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, familiar to many New Yorkers, opens and closes the movie.) The Rape of Europa covers endlessly interesting material: the central role art played for the Nazis; the arriviste connoisseurship of Hitler and Goering; the Germans’ different treatment of cities like Krakow (spared for its Germanic art) and Warsaw (almost obliterated for its Slavic art and sensibility). It also raises endlessly interesting questions: Should soldiers’ lives be risked to save historic sites and artwork? Can a culture survive if its art is wiped out?” (Rachel Saltz, New York Times)

“Much of the documentary shows in gripping detail the efforts to save Europe's treasures from Hitler's clutches and the ravages of war.” (Kathleen McGuigan,

“A fascinating account of art's fate during the rise of the Third Reich and the Second World War.” (Ariella Budick,

Check out the rave review at
Jewish Daily Forward:
Not Rated
Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen
Joan Allen
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Based on a book by Lynn H. Nicholas, this fascinating film documents the plundering and destruction of art during World War II; the moving and hiding of art, precautionary and otherwise, that were sometimes carried out on a massive scale (such as the Louvre being virtually emptied ahead of the ...

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