Arts, Artists and Authoritarianism: Background information when reading This Is How It Begins

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This Is How It Begins

by Joan Dempsey

This Is How It Begins by Joan Dempsey X
This Is How It Begins by Joan Dempsey
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  • Paperback:
    Oct 2017, 399 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Arts, Artists and Authoritarianism

Portrait of a Young Man by RaphaelIn This is How It Begins, Ludka Zeilonka, art history professor and survivor of the World War II Nazi invasion of Poland, rescued a valuable painting from certain theft or destruction at the hands of the Germans. She has kept it hidden for over 70 years, protecting it and keeping its provenance intact for posterity. As an idealistic young art lover she knew that if the prized painting of Chopin by a famous Polish artist fell into German hands it likely would have been destroyed and thus an important link in Polish art history would be lost.

This was not an unusual occurrence. As Nazis rounded up and executed Jews, they confiscated all their possessions and either kept or sold everything of value. Jewelry, cash, and valuable antiques became the spoils of war, while many books and works of art which did not conform to the worldview of the Third Reich were destroyed. In occupied countries, individuals and groups, recognizing the importance of preserving important works of art and ...

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