The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art

The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art

The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art

The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art

Excerpt

This book is both a history and an investigation of Nazi art-looting during the Second World War. As the Wehrmacht swept over Europe, the Nazis looted and confiscated thousands of art collections, public and private, both systematically and through random pillaging by officers and soldiers.

I have organized this book around the official and systematic confiscations of five private art collections belonging to French Jewish families or art dealers. The collections -- those of the Rothschilds, the Paul Rosenbergs the Bernheim-Jeunes, the David-Weills, and the Schlosses -- were selected because of their size and importance and because their methodical plundering shows how Nazi art-looting truly functioned. These legendary or well-known collections were rounded up by one or another Nazi confiscation organization, sometimes with the willing help of many in France.

When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, Paris, with its museums, galleries, and auction houses, was still the world's center of art. This was the city where the leading modern painters, and some of the most important art collectors . . .

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