Hitler kept list­ings of art stolen in Europe

Dal­las foun­da­tion gets his­toric al­bums

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - BY JAMIE STENGLE

TDALLAS wo al­bums doc­u­ment­ing works of art and fur­ni­ture stolen by the Nazis dur­ing World War II were un­veiled Tues­day af­ter be­ing dis­cov­ered by a Dal­las-based foun­da­tion that was con­tacted by rel­a­tives of two sol­diers who had taken them from Adolf Hitler’s home.

Robert M. Ed­sel, founder and pres­i­dent of the Mon­u­ments Men Foun­da­tion for the Preser­va­tion of Art, said at a Dal­las news con­fer­ence that the al­bums are “key pieces of ev­i­dence taken from a crime scene that were prized pos­ses­sions of Adolf Hitler.”

The al­bums, which will be do­nated to the U.S. Na­tional Archives, were among those cre­ated by the Nazi agency Ein­satzstab Rich­sleiter Rosen­berg, or ERR, doc­u­ment­ing the items they had taken from across Europe. One al­bum in­cludes pho­to­graphs of 69 paint­ings that were taken as early as 1940. An­other con­tains pho­to­graphs of 41 pieces of fur­ni­ture, mostly taken from the Roth­schild fam­ily.

The al­bums will bring the to­tal num­ber of ERR al­bums in the cus­tody of the Na­tional Archives to 43, in­clud­ing two oth­ers that were do­nated in 2007.

“We can only hope for more dis­cov­er­ies in the years to come,” said U.S. Ar­chiv­ist David S. Fer­riero.

For decades, the 39 ERR al­bums — dis­cov­ered stored at Ger­many’s Neuschwanstein Cas­tle and later used as ev­i­dence at the Nurem­berg tri­als to doc­u­ment Nazi loot­ing — were thought to be the only sur­vivors of about 100, he said.

The Mon­u­ments Men Foun­da­tion con­tin­ues the work of those who helped Al­lied forces pro­tect cul­tural trea­sures dur­ing World War II and af­ter the war helped re­turn stolen items.

Mr. Ed­sel said that by 1951, the Mon­u­ments Men had pro­cessed and re­turned more than 5 mil­lion stolen ob­jects.

“It was the great­est trea­sure hunt in his­tory — one that con­tin­ues to this day,” Mr. Ed­sel said.

Greg Brad­sher, se­nior ar­chiv­ist at the Na­tional Archives, said that the al­bums are a re­minder of the mas­sive amounts of prop­erty that Hitler took and a re­minder that “to this day, hun­dreds of thou­sands” of items are not with their right­ful own­ers.

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