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Hitler's art thief : Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the looting of Europe's treasures
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Art theft
World War II
- Europe
Time Period
-- 20th century
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  Library Journal Review

In 2013, more than 1,400 pieces of art were discovered in the modest Munich apartment of 80-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt, son of Hitler's "art dealer" Hildebrand Gurlitt. The art was valued at more than $1.35 billion, but to the reclusive Cornelius, they weren't just paintings-they were "friends." For victims of the greatest art heist in history, however, they were stolen tokens of the Third Reich. Ronald (The Pirate Queen) provides a remarkably comprehensive telling of the Nazi's massive looting of treasured artworks and the pivotal role the Gurlitts played. Although considered Hitler's art dealer, Hildebrand is best described in the book's title. Ronald's narrative follows -Hildebrand from student to thief and eventually finds its end in Cornelius's mysterious apartment. VERDICT There are countless works related to Nazi Germany, but Ronald's account provides an additional layer of knowledge that's worth adding to your collection. Readers will gain a larger understanding of how art threads through society, what it means when those threads are unraveled, and the tragic effects of having your culture stolen and repurposed. They aren't just paintings, indeed. [See Prepub Alert, 4/20/15.]-Erin Entrada Kelly, Philadelphia © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
<p>The world was stunned when eighty-year old Cornelius Gurlitt became an international media superstar in November 2013 on the discovery of over 1,400 artworks in his 1,076 square-foot Munich apartment, valued at around $1.35 billion. Gurlitt became known as a man who never was - he didn't have a bank account, never paid tax, never received social security. He simply did not exist. He had been hard-wired into a life of shadows and secrecy by his own father long before he had inherited his art collection built on the spoliation of museums and Jews during Hitler's Third Reich. The ensuing media frenzy unleashed international calls for restitution, unsettled international relations, and rocked the art world.</p> <p>Susan Ronald reveals in this stranger-than-fiction-tale how Hildebrand Gurlitt succeeded in looting in the name of the Third Reich, duping the Monuments Men and the Nazis alike. As an "official dealer" for Hitler and Goebbels, Hildebrand Gurlitt became one of the Third Reich's most prolific art looters. Yet he stole from Hitler too, allegedly to save modern art. Hitler's Art Thief is the untold story of Hildebrand Gurlitt, who stole more than art-he stole lives, too.</p>
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
On Names and Acronymsp. xiii
Prologuep. 1
Part IThe Unmaking of the Man
1New York, May 1944p. 9
2At the Beginning-Germany, 1907p. 14
3From The Hague to Viennap. 24
4Cause and Effectp. 33
5Warp. 42
6Gurlitt's Strugglep. 54
7Peacep. 71
8Aftermathp. 82
9Weimar Tremblesp. 91
Part IIArt and Politics
10Rebels with a Causep. 103
11Hopes and Dreamsp. 115
12From New York to Zwickaup. 119
13The Mysterious Mr. Kirchbachp. 123
14The Root of Evilp. 133
15Chameleons and Cricketsp. 142
16The First Stolen Livesp. 153
Part IIIWorld War and Wilderness
17Chambers of Horrorsp. 165
18The Four Horsemenp. 174
19Tradecraftp. 183
20The Treasure Housesp. 190
21The Posse Yearsp. 202
22Swallowing the Treasurep. 212
23Viaup. 225
24King Raffkep. 231
25Quick, the Allies Are Coming!p. 246
26Surrendered ... or Captured?p. 253
Part IVThe Stolen Lives
27House Arrestp. 265
28Under the Microscopep. 280
29Düsseldorfp. 295
30Aftermath and Munichp. 302
31The Lion Tamerp. 308
32Feeding Frenzyp. 314
Glossaryp. 321
Notesp. 325
Selected Bibliographyp. 359
Indexp. 369
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