Updated: 03/07/2013 While viewing this years Oscar's, I was quite pleased to hear that a movie based on Robert Edsel's book, Monuments Men is in the works! It's an extraordinary journey about the preservation and recovery of art stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
The cast is equally as good: Directed and starring George Clooney; Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, John Goodman, Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett. Release date is set for December 18, 2013.
For more on the book, read below:
Over three decades ago, as I was piddling around in the basement of my childhood home, I was transfixed by what lay underneath the cover of my fathers workbench. The cover, torn and tattered, had holes revealing something interesting. One could ascertain what was discovered was used to pad the top of the bench as the cover was placed over it.
My love for treasure hunting sparked my desire to look further as I sensed something historical. Carefully tearing away the cover, I was astonished to find a local newspaper dated September 21, 1946.
As I meticulously lay bare the newspaper, I discovered this famous Nuremberg Trial photograph making front page news(click on photo to enlarge):
I was reminded of this unveiling as I finished reading Monuments Men. A story of 300+ men and women who soldiered their way through war torn Europe in search of artworks, treasures and money pillaged by the Nazi's; Hitler, Goering and the like.
Edsel includes the time period of Hitler's suicide and the capture of war criminals and the trial at Nuremberg, concluding with the lives of the soldiers after WWII; one became a sculptor with his last work of art being of President George H.W. Bush.
More than a thousand repositories, containing millions of art work and treasures were recovered. Places such as the salt mine of Altaussee and Hitler's haven in Berchtesgadan. In Altaussee alone, 6,577 paintings, 954 prints, 137 sculptures, 230 drawings or watercolors just to name a few.
Through the heroic efforts of these young soldiers we can view fine works of art in museums around the world and their rightful owners, albeit country or individual, can find peace in that these paintings, sculptures, books, furniture, drawings, etc. are now in their proper place.
But still to this day, there are works yet to be located, some lost for good. Either destroyed by the Nazi's themselves through Hitler's doctrine or perhaps their owners wish not to reveal or museums lack the courage or drive to continue searching.
So the search continues. Perhaps you have information of some undiscovered work or would like to contribute to the cause. For more information, http://www.monumentsmenfoundation.org/
To learn more about the Monuments Men and the treasures recovered, Robert Edsel also wrote Rescuing Da Vinci: Hitler and the Nazis Stole Europe's Great Art - America and Her Allies Recovered It