The Icon Hunter: A Refugee’s Quest to Reclaim Her Nation’s Stolen Heritage

Tasoula Hadjitofi. Pegasus, $27.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-68177-323-0
In this gripping memoir, Hadjitofi, former Honorary Consul of Cyprus in the Netherlands and founder of the NGO Walk of Truth, chronicles the Munich sting operation that uncovered and repatriated stolen artifacts and icons looted from Cypriot churches during the Turkish occupation of Cyprus in 1974. The sting that led to the “Munich Case” lasted more than two decades. Hadjitofi recounts her quest to locate scattered Byzantine masterpieces that are worth millions; she went all over the world, from a university in Japan to the Munich doorstep of a corrupt art trader. She partnered with Dutch art trader Michel Van Rijn, a corrupt and unreliable informant, who introduced danger along the journey. Hadjitofi felt driven to return the artifacts to the Orthodox Christian churches that represent both her religion and her home. As a former refugee, she reveals the despair and irreparable loss of losing not only a nation but also its cultural heritage. She exposes the “underworld of art traffickers” with intricate detail as she documents all the legal loopholes and battles that stand in the way of repatriating stolen artifacts. The book is a powerful and important chronicle of art trafficking and its impact on the lives of those torn apart by war, and Hadjitofi is a caring and exacting storyteller. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-68177-381-0
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