Why It’s So Hard to Find the Original Owners of Nazi-Looted Art

When the Nazis purged Germany of so-called “degenerate art” and looted from occupied countries, some private dealers like Hildebrand Gurlitt capitalized off the opportunity to hoard masterpieces and make a profit. Professionals now search what’s called ‘provenance’ to return recovered art to its original owners. It’s patient, difficult work, when it works.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: May 31, 2017
Length: 6 minutes (1,737 words)

The Holocaust’s Great Escape

A remarkable discovery in Lithuania — an escape tunnel from the Nazi killing site at Ponar — brings a legendary tale of survival back to life.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Mar 1, 2017
Length: 19 minutes (4,827 words)

A Photographic Chronicle of America’s Working Poor

Writing Dale Maharidge and photographer Matt Black traveled through Maine, Ohio, and California for this piece updating the landmark study of the American working poor, Now Let Us Praise Famous Men.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Dec 15, 2016
Length: 22 minutes (5,590 words)

This 3,500-Year-Old Greek Tomb Upended What We Thought We Knew About the Roots of Western Civilization

The recent discovery of the grave of an ancient soldier is challenging accepted wisdom among archaeologists, calling into question our most basic ideas about European history.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Jan 1, 2017
Length: 20 minutes (5,091 words)

Hemingway in Love

A.E. Hotchner reveals the story of when his friend Ernest Hemingway was in love with two women simultaneously.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Sep 23, 2015
Length: 19 minutes (4,984 words)

Thirteen Years Later, Did ‘Spellbound’ Show Us the Power or the Myth of the American Dream?

Thirteen years after the acclaimed documentary was released, Amy Crawford follows up with the eight very different children from ‘Spellbound.’ She uses their post-spelling bee futures as way to examine how social class shapes success in America.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: May 28, 2015
Length: 11 minutes (2,995 words)

What Makes the “Lion Whisperer” Roar?

Susan Orlean profiles “Lion Whisperer” Kevin Richardson, who has dedicated his life to the ethical conservation of lions.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: May 26, 2015
Length: 18 minutes (4,507 words)

How Oregon’s Second Largest City Vanished in a Day

Intended as temporary solution for Portland’s wartime housing shortage, Vanport housed 40,000 residents at its height, making it the second largest city in Oregon. In a few short years the community went from a shining example of American innovation to a crime-laden slum, largely due to discriminatory housing policies. Ultimately, a natural disaster would spell the end for Vanport, but the community’s legacy remains a dark chapter in Portland’s discriminatory history.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Feb 18, 2015
Length: 14 minutes (3,661 words)

Who Was the Marquis de Sade?

How the once-reviled 18th-century libertine writer became France’s most decadent cultural hero.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Feb 1, 2015
Length: 20 minutes (5,000 words)

The Radical Paradox of Martin Luther King’s Devotion to Nonviolence

A conversation with King biographer Taylor Branch about the civil rights leader’s true legacy.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Jan 1, 2015
Length: 15 minutes (3,954 words)