Monday, October 28, 2019

Looted Art, Still Unreturned

Literary Hub has an article about a trove of 1,200 works of art found in a an old man's apartment.  His father had been an art collector on behalf of Hitler and the Reich.  Getting them returned to their actual owners is going to be difficult, and the German government is not hurrying about it in the least.

That was interesting enough in itself, but these lines from the article jumped out at me.
In contrast to all other Western dictators except Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler was genuinely obsessed with art. His actions fundamentally and permanently altered the West’s cultural landscape. Hitler regarded himself as an artist first and a politician second.
It is often overlooked or intentionally buried, that the Nazi and Bolshevik supporters were disproportionately artists, philosophers, university students and professors, novelist. There is a decided preference for portraying them as ignorant thugs. There were plenty of ignorant thugs among them, to be sure. Such people are always glad to attach themselves to those who provide intellectual and moral justification for their thievery and violence. Yet it was the intellectuals who were the early adopters of both ideologies - an uncomfortable point which modern intellectuals try to obscure. Funny, eh?

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