Documentary tracks Nazi art plunder
While Adolf Hitler
invaded European countries during World War II, he systematically purged fine art that he loathed (Matisse
and Van Gogh
, for instance) and hoarded paintings he coveted. As a young man, Hitler, who fancied himself a talented artist, was rejected by an esteemed Austrian art school -- led in large part by Jewish artists. Some say it fueled his anti-Semitism as well as his rabid desire to become a respectable collector. Essentially, art became part of his political agenda.
What happened to fine art in Europe amid bombings, raids and sweeping fascism is the topic of a fascinating documentary showing through next Friday at the Kahala 8 Theatres. "Rape of Europa" includes dozens of interviews with people all over the world, and explores the ongoing effort to restore damaged paintings and frescos and recover what Nazi leaders confiscated, often for their own collections.
Some of the most compelling segments include discussions with the Monument Men. Allied military leaders recruited these experts to work on the front lines, creating maps to help bomber pilots avoid destroying monuments containing works of art. They also helped empty museums such as the Louvre before Hitler's army arrived. The Mona Lisa traveled to a private home alone in an ambulance, sealed to maintain a constant level of humidity.
After the war, Hitler's stash of plundered art was discovered deep in an Austrian salt mine. But tens of thousands of paintings and sculptures, many owned by Jewish families throughout Europe, remain missing to this day.
When it comes to fresh sashimi, there's nothing quite like seeing it prepared in Japan, where chefs take an eel, wriggling in a bucket, and slice it right in front of you -- while it's still alive. And have you ever sampled chicken sashimi? (Yep, that's raw chicken.) Scott Suzui covers what he calls "bizarre foods," famous attractions and items of cultural interest on "Ultimate Japan," a half-hour travelogue on OC16.
"I'm a local boy, but I can speak Japanese as well," said Suzui, whose primary job is owner of Tenkaippin, a ramen restaurant in Kaimuki. He hosts the show with his wife, Mayumi Suzui, a native of Japan, and their 6-year-old son, Skyler.
Reruns of the six episodes comprising the first season (including a special "best of" show) continue. The second season premieres at 9 p.m. Sept. 3. A new episode airs every Wednesday, followed by plenty of reruns (including 8:30 p.m. Saturdays).
With Season 2 in the can, Suzui's off to Japan this week to meet up with his wife and shoot Season 3. Because of his ties to Japan and the relationships he established while working as a travel agent years ago, he said, "places where you cannot shoot, I'm able to shoot." This includes sumo wrestling stables. Though he funds the show in large part himself, "the memory I have is worth it," he said. "I get to learn about things I never knew about."