Nazi Plunder Essay

1779 words - 7 pages

The Nazi PlunderThe Nazi Plunder was the mass theft of valuable items, most notably, art during the reign of the Third Reich by Hitler's army. The plunder was almost systematic looting of all European towns and cities that had been overtaken by the Germans during the latter part of the Second World War. The Nazi Plunder stole all manner of things from gold and cash to ancient and modern art that depending on the painter, would either be destroyed or it would be stored for safe keeping. Plundering occurred from 1933 until the end of the Second World War, all happening in Europe. Most of the looting was done by German special military units known as the Kunstschutz. The Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (MFAA) and their agents were mostly responsible for the recovering of this art, but, still to this day, there is still plunder that remains unaccounted for, with people internationally joining in on the search.The origin to the art theft is an unusual one but it is mainly due to Adolf Hitler considering himself quite a connoisseur of the arts. Adolf Hitler had attempted to become an art student at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts but was rejected. His connoisseur status also showed in earlier publishments of Mein Kampf, where he ferociously attacked modern art, labelling it as degenerate and not real art, including Cubism, Dadaism and Futurism. His ideas meant when he became the Chancellor of Germany they became the ideas of the nation, enforcing his aesthetic ideal. He preferred, and therefore the Nazi party preferred were classical portraits and landscapes done by 'Old Masters' that had Germanic origin as Hitler obviously believed anyone of non-German origin was inferior. It was all of Hitler's passion for art that was responsible for the looting, and the reason for what happened to it after it was looted.The theft of all these priceless artworks and more was done from 1933 onwards, up until the fall of the Third Reich in Europe, only limited by what they couldn't get their hands on. All of the looting was done by German soldiers and special German military units called the Kunstschutz. As soon as a town, city or area was captured, it would be looted for all its value. The looting was so systematic that for all the European territory they occupied they had special German organizations to go in and look at collections, both private and public to determine which were most valuable to the Nazi's. The art would be then sold to fund Nazi activities, given to high-ranking officials, burnt because of their art type or artist, to be stored in very secret locations or to be put in Hitler's never realised Führermuseum. In 1940 an organisation known as the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg für die Besetzten Gebiete (The Reichsleiter Rosenberg Institute for the Occupied Territories) was responsible for collecting Jewish and Freemasonic books and documents later that year became responsible for just seizing Jewish art collections and other...

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