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June 14 2013

How WWII Soldiers Saved Italy’s Art From the Nazis


How did Renaissance masterpieces survive the carnage of World War II? Noah Charney on a team of U.S. soldiers who rescued the world’s greatest objects from being stolen or destroyed by the Nazis.

The Second World War altered the map of Europe, and redistributed art on an unprecedented scale. But few people know the astonishing extent of art looting during the war. Adolf Hitler and his deputy Hermann Göring raced one another to steal artworks. Goring “collected” a private gallery of thousands of stolen masterpieces, displayed in a hunting lodge outside of Berlin as an enormous shrine to his deceased wife, while Hitler ordered art stolen both for his personal enjoyment and to fill his planned “super museum,” a conversion of an entire city in Austria to contain every important artwork in the world.

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