World War II was the most devastating conflict in human history, but the tragedy did not end on the battlefields. During the war, Germany--and, later, the Allies--plundered Europe's historic treasures. Between 1939 and 1945, German armed forces roamed from Dunkirk to Stalingrad, looting gold, silver, currency, paintings and other works of art, coins, religious artifacts, and millions of books and other documents. The value of these items, many of which were irreplaceable, is estimated in the billions of dollars. The artwork alone, looted under Hitler's direction, exceeded the combined collections of the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum, and the Louvre. As the war wound to its conclusion in 1945, occupying forces continued the looting. The story of these celebrated works of art and other vanished treasures--and the mystery of where they went--is a remarkable tale of greed, fraud, deceit, and treachery. Kenneth Alford's Nazi Plunder is the latest word on this fascinating subject.
Looting has long been recognized as one of the crimes committed by the Third Reich during World War II, a crime which stripped economic wealth and artistic treasures from the populations the Nazis terrorized. This historical text reveals the shocking extent of looting by Allied forces, exploring their thievery against the Germans and others. It follows the journey of the Hungarian Crown Treasure from a muddy oil drum in Austria to Fort Knox and back to Hungary, and discusses numerous lost treasures ranging from priceless art works to rare manuscripts, including the earliest known printing by the Gutenberg press.
During World War II, the Nazis plundered from occupied countries millions of items of incalculable value estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Spearheaded by Hermann Göring the looting program quickly created the largest private art collection in the world, exceeding the collections amassed by the Metropolitan in New York, the British Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris and the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow. By the end of the war, the Nazis had stolen roughly one-fifth of the entire art treasures of the world. This book explores the formation of the Nazi art collection and the methods used by Göring and his party to strip occupied Europe of a large part of its artistic heritage.
The Allies’ triumphant march into Paris in 1944 was met with cheering crowds of liberated Parisians. After the cheering stopped, American deserters and their French cohorts violently exploited the city with the ruthless efficiency of the Chicago mobs of the 1920s. Well organized, and heavily armed, these GIs-turned-gangsters made huge profits on the thriving black market with their unlimited supplies of gasoline, cigarettes and other commodities. Along with this illicit enterprise came rape, murder, robbery, prostitution and epidemic venereal disease. American military justice worked at controlling the crime wave, handling nearly 8,000 criminal investigations in the year after liberation, but only the end of the war in 1945 put a stop to it. This book identifies both French and American offenders.