Archive for February 9th, 2014

VAL1I love the wood greeting cards I found at Spitfire Girl – with the “I Love You Forever” card being the perfect Valentine.

About the Wood Greeting Cards from Spitfire Girl: “Eco-friendly sustainably harvested real birch wood Greeting Card. Wood grain varies from card to card. This card is great for an original note, gift or small piece of art. Write with ease using a pen, pencil or marker. Designed by Los Angeles based artists. Requires standard postcard postage. Sold individually. Comes with an envelope, packaged in a clear sleeve.”

Find the: “I Love You Forever” Wood Greeting Card from Spitfire Girl here.

See Spitfire Girl’s entire Valentine’s Day collection here.

MONUA while back in one of my Weekly Reads, I reviewed the book, Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis by Robert M. Edsel, which details the story of unsung heroes of World II and how they saved the very culture of Europe.

Now, the story of these so-called “Monuments Men” has made it to the big screen in a George Clooney directed film starring the likes of Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett. I saw the film, The Monuments Men, and it is a fine entertainment. Although the film delves into the true history of some of the men who were tasked with protecting, finding and ultimately returning Nazi-raided treasures, it is a Hollywood movie after all and it has an oddly whimsical tone. However, the best thing is that the film has brought the story of these men (and one very brave French woman, Rose Valland) and the story of what the Nazi’s were doing to the forefront.

The horrors of the Nazi regime where so vast that this amazing part of the World War II story is still playing out today. Hitler’s systematic raiding of Europe’s museums and private art collections, which pales in comparison to his other atrocities, was not widely known until several well-publicized legal battles over artworks and several books and films were made in recent years.

After seeing The Monuments Men film, which shows only a tiny bit of what the US did to protect and restore Europe’s pillaged treasures, I went back to Mr. Edsel’s book and once again was amazed at the scale of what the Nazi’s did and how epic the task of finding and restoring the art has been.

I also discovered another wonderful book about the same topic, The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn Nicholas. In The Rape of Europa, Ms. Nicholas delves into more of the story, more than what the US Army tasked the Monuments Men with, and shares more about the legacy of what was lost, what was found and what is yet to be restored.

There is also a great documentary based on Ms. Nicholas’s book, The Rape of Europa, which can be viewed on Hulu and Netflix.

The history of The Monuments Men and the Nazi-era raid on Europe’s treasures is still playing out today as long lost works of art trickle out of hiding and battles over provenance are fought.

It is so important that even 75-plus years on these stories are still being told. I wish I could say that we have learned our lesson, but treasures of the world’s collective culture and heritage continue to be destroyed in places like Syria. Let’s hope that there are brave men and women somewhere trying to save it.

Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis by Robert M. Edsel is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

Monument Men, the movie, is now playing only in theaters.

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn Nicholas is also available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

Learn more about the documentary film The Rape of Europa here.

Read the history and legacy of the real Monuments Men here.