To mark the May 8 anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe in 1945, the National Archives will hold a press conference to unveil the last known leather-bound "Hitler Album" of art works stolen by the Nazis during the war. The Monuments Men Foundation will donate to the National Archives this album, which was found at Hitler's home in Berchtesgaden, Germany, in the closing days of the war and has since been in private hands.
David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States Dr. Greg Bradsher, Senior Archivist and expert on Holocaust-Era Assets records Robert M. Edsel, Chairman of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, and author of The Monuments Men Harry Ettlinger, one of only six living Monuments Men
PLEASE NOTE: Photographers welcome, however additional lights are prohibited.
Created by the staff of a special Nazi task force, the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), the so-called "Hitler Albums" document the unprecedented and systematic looting of European art by the Nazis, a story recently brought to the screen by George Clooney in The Monuments Men film. The ERR was the main Nazi agency engaged in art looting in Nazi-occupied countries. As the ERR looted, photographed, and catalogued French collections, they created albums, including the one being donated. Each page of the album shows a photograph of one stolen item.
After the war, the U.S. Army discovered 39 of these albums and turned them over to the Monuments Men for use in identifying art work to be restituted. These volumes, in the holdings of the National Archives, served as evidence in the Nuremburg trials to document the massive Nazi art looting operations. Until recently, it was believed that the missing ERR albums had been destroyed. Thanks to the Monuments Men Foundation, four additional albums have been recovered, and the fourth will be donated at this event.
The Monuments Men’s Paper Trail at the National Archives
The National Archives holds millions of records created or received by the U.S. Government during and after World War II relating to the Nazi-era looted cultural assets, including the original records of the Monuments Men. These voluminous National Archives holdings document the activities and investigations of U.S. Government agencies involved in the identification and recovery of looted assets, including the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and U.S. occupation forces in Germany and Austria. The materials also include contain captured German records about looted art, including the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) card file and related photographs.
Featured Prologue Story and Blogs on The Monuments Men
Dr. Greg Bradsher, a senior archivist and World War II expert, and author of Holocaust-Era Assets: A Finding Aid to Records at the National Archives at College Park, MD, tells one story of the Monuments Men in the latest issue of the National Archives’ Prologue magazine Bradsher shares the fascinating story of how U.S. soldiers found a cache of treasures, and called in the Monuments Men for help. The find included four caskets—with the remains of Frederick the Great, Frederick William I, and President Paul von Hindenberg and his wife. What happened to them? Bradsher has the answer.
Hi-res and public domain images relating to looted art