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The Rape of Europa scheduled for National Premiere on Nov. 24

PBS to feature NEH-funded documentary as prime time special in Fall Sweeps Week

WASHINGTON (November 17, 2008)—The Rape of Europa—a film funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)—will premiere on PBS on Nov. 24 as part of a national prime-time broadcast for Fall Sweeps Week. The NEH-funded film received a nomination for Best Documentary Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in February 2008. The Rape of Europa received a total of $630,000 from the Endowment in planning and production grants providing for 50 percent of the film’s total $1.25 million budget.

The Rape of Europa, based upon the award-winning book by scholar Lynn Nicholas, tells an incredible yet lesser-known story of villainy and heroism in World War II. The film documents the 12-year Nazi campaign to loot and destroy thousands of priceless artworks from Europe and Russia and details the heroic efforts made by ordinary citizens and scholar-soldiers—later known as the Monuments Men—from the United States and its Allies to save and repatriate these stolen treasures during and after the war.

The Rape of Europa rescues from oblivion the work of unsung heroes, men and women in the armed services who took great risks to save a priceless part of our cultural patrimony,” said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. “I’m thrilled that PBS is premiering The Rape of Europa and will share this remarkable story with the American public. The Endowment is proud to be the primary funder of this film.”

“We couldn’t have made this film without the support of the NEH,” said filmmaker Richard Berge. “Its support not only made the production of this film possible, but it also provided us the opportunity to meet with scholars and enhance the historical narrative of the film.”

The two-hour documentary film was written, directed, and produced by Bonni Cohen, Richard Berge, and Nicole Newnham of Actual Films in association with Oregon Public Broadcasting and Agon Arts & Entertainment, which provided significant additional financing. Its managing member, Robert M. Edsel, is the founder of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art and co-producer of the film. For more information about Bonni Cohen, Richard Berge, Nicole Newnham, and the film, please visit

A schedule of programs is available on the PBS web site at Please check your local listing for exact times.

The NEH has a long-standing history of supporting engaging and substantive documentary films that bring the humanities to a far-reaching audience. These films promote lifelong learning in American and world history, literature, religion, philosophy, and other fields of the humanities.


About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

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