Looted Art

Looted Art

Part One

From 1933 to the wars end, Nazi Germany systematically looted millions of works of art from individuals and the nations they went on to conquer.

Looted Art

  • Looted Art

    • Part One
      The uncertain fate of masterpieces stolen by Germany and seized by Russia after World War II
    • Part Two
      Politics and lies could prevent some of the world's greatest artworks from ever being seen.

The largest act of mass theft in history. But at the end of the war, with Nazi Germany in ruins, expert teams from the Red Army seized more than two and a half million art objects, some 12 million books and miles of archives.

Among them some of the great works of European art. Work beyond value. For Stalin these were reparations for the terrible damage and loss of life inflicted by the Nazi's on the Soviet Union.

Trophies of war but the Red Army, in its haste to seize so much, also brought back many thousands of works of art belonging to the victims of Nazism.

All of it was locked away in absolute secrecy for 50 years, until two Soviet researchers revealed all.

The international fall out continues to reverberate around the world. Germany and Russia continue to argue over the fate of these treasures and those victims of Nazism able to identify their works want them back.

And now, finally, the world has been able to see stunning works of Impressionism, ancient Trojan treasures and other works that have returned like ghosts from the past.

But are these the last prisoners of war? Charles Wheeler, in the company of Anne Webber from the Commission for Looted Art, investigates their fate in Looted Art.

Terms of Use

The BBC Podcasts are for your personal non-commercial use only.

All title, ownership rights and intellectual property rights in and to the BBC Podcasts shall remain the property of the BBC or third parties.

You may not edit, alter, adapt or add to the BBC Podcast in any way. The BBC Podcasts are made available by the BBC on an "as is" and "as available" basis and the BBC gives no warranty of any kind in relation to the BBC Podcast.

To the maximum extent permitted by law the BBC will not be liable for any loss or damage which you may suffer as a result of or connected to the download or use of the BBC Podcasts.

See the full BBC Podcast: Standard Licence Terms here.