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Today’s post is written by Dr. Greg Bradsher and is the first piece in a four-part series.
The National Archives and Records Administration plans to place Adolf Hitler’s Political Testament, Personal Will, and Marriage Certificate (National Archives identifier 6883511) on exhibit beginning March 21, 2014. This series of posts traces these documents from the time of their creation to their first exhibition at NARA in 1946.
In The Washington Post on April 28, 1946, there appeared a list of things going on in Washington, D.C. At the National Archives, it was noted, one could see the World War II surrender documents and the “last documents signed by Hitler, including his marriage certificate and will.” A year beforehand, those documents had not even been created, and even four months earlier the documents were still hidden in German hands. The travels of the Hitler documents from his bunker in Berlin to the National Archives a year later began in Berlin in late April 1945 with the Russian forces on the verge of capturing the city.
The marriage certificate of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun (double-click to enlarge):
On the evening of April 28, 1945, deep in his underground bunker in Berlin, Adolf Hitler, Germany’s Reich Chancellor and President, had a lot on his mind. News arrived during the day that there had been an uprising in upper Italy, Mussolini had been arrested by the Partisans, armistice negotiations were being initiated by commanders in Italy, as well as news of an attempted coup in Munich. Russian forces were only some 1,000 yards from the bunker and news had arrived that day the German Ninth Army ordered to break through the Russian-encircled capital of the Reich to rescue Hitler would most not likely to be able to accomplish their mission. Still, Hitler held a slim hope that General Wenck’s Twelfth Army, heading towards Potsdam and then into Berlin to rescue him, would succeed. Nevertheless, Hitler knew that he soon would have to commit suicide. Before doing so, he desired to marry his long-time mistress Eva Braun and write his final political testament and personal will. As the evening progressed, Hitler received confirmation that Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, was negotiating with the western allies. This news led Hitler, around 11pm, to having Eva Braun’s brother-in-law, SS-Gruppenfuehrer Hermann Fegelein, Himmler’s Liaison to Hitler, executed for desertion and treason.
Hitler’s secretary, 25-year-old Gertrude Junge, tried that evening to sleep for an hour. Sometime after 11pm she woke up. She washed, changed her clothes, and thought it must be time to drink tea with Hitler, the other remaining secretary (31-year-old Frau Gerda Christian), and Hitler’s vegetarian cook (25-year-old Fraulein Constanze Manzialy), a nightly occurrence.When she opened the door to Hitler’s study, Hitler came toward her, shook her hand and asked “‘Have you had a nice little rest, child?’” Junge replied “Yes, I have slept a little.” Thereupon he said, “Come along, I want to dictate something.” This was between 11:30pm and midnight.
They went into the little map, or conference, room near Hitler’s quarters. She was about to remove the cover from the typewriter, as Hitler normally dictated directly to the typewriter, when Hitler said “Take it down on the shorthand pad.” She sat down alone at the big table and waited. Hitler stood in his usual place by the broad side of the table, leaned both hands on it, and stared at the empty table top, no longer covered that day with maps. For several seconds Hitler did not say anything. Then, suddenly he began to speak the first words: “My political testament.” As Hitler began speaking, she had the impression that he was in a hurry. “In tones of indifference, almost mechanically, the Fuehrer,” Junge would later observe, “comes out with the explanations, accusations and demands that I, the German people and the whole world know already.”
After finishing his political testament, according to Junge, Hitler paused a brief moment and then began dictating his private will. Hitler’s personal will was shorter. It explained his marriage, disposed of his property, and announced his impending death.
The dictation was completed. Hitler had not made any corrections on either document. He moved away from the table on which he had been leaning all this time, and “suddenly there is an exhausted, hunted expression in his eyes.” Hitler said, “Type that out for me at once in triplicate and then bring it in to me.” Junge felt that there was something urgent in his voice, and thought the most important, most crucial document written by Hitler was to go out into the world without any corrections or thorough revision. She knew that “Every letter of birthday wishes to some Gauleiter, artist, etc., was polished up, improved, revised–but now Hitler had no time for any of that.”
Junge took her notepad and typewriter across the hall to type up the political and personal wills. The room she used was next to Joseph Goebbels’ private room. There she began typing up her shorthand notes of the two documents, knowing that Hitler wanted her to finish as fast as possible. As she began typing the wedding at this point had not taken place.
The next item of business was the Hitler-Eva Braun marriage. Once Junge departed the conference, guests began entering to attend the wedding ceremony. In the meantime Hitler was in his sitting room with a few people, trying to get the wedding ready in a dignified way, while the conference room was turned into a registry office and set up for the wedding ceremony. SS-Major Heinz Linge (Hitler’s valet since 1935) began getting things ready for the post-wedding ceremony, including gathering up food and drink for Hitler’s inner circle.
Meanwhile, Josef Goebbels, in his capacity of Gauleiter of Berlin, knew of someone authorized to act as a registrar of marriage who was still in Berlin, fighting with the Volkssturm. He was a 50-year-old municipal councilor named Walter Wagner. A group of SS men was dispatched across the city to bring him back. Wagner appeared shortly before 1am April 29 in the uniform of the Nazi Party and the arm-band of the Volkssturm. The ceremony took place in the small conference room or map room, probably at some point between 1am and 2am. Hitler and Eva Braun left their apartment hand in hand and went into the conference room. Hitler’s face was ashen, his gaze wandered restlessly. Eva Braun was also pale from sleepless nights. Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda, and Martin Bormann, head of the Nazi Party Chancellery and private secretary to Hitler, were waiting for them in the antechamber.
In the conference room Hitler and Eva greeted the functionary who had taken up his position at the table. Then they sat down in the first two chairs, and Bormann and Goebbels too went to their assigned places. The door was closed. The two parties declared that they were of pure Aryan descent and were free from hereditary disease. In a few minutes the parties had given assent, the register had been signed, and the ceremony was over. When the bride came to sign her name on the marriage certificate she began to write “Eva Braun,” but quickly struck out the initial letter B, and corrected it to “Eva Hitler, nee Braun.” Bormann and Goebbels and Wagner also signed the register as witnesses. The ceremony lasted no longer than ten minutes.
Bormann opened the door again when Hitler and Eva were signing the license. Hitler then kissed Eva’s hand. They went into the conference passage where they shook hands with those waiting. They then withdrew into their private apartments for a wedding breakfast. Shortly afterwards, Bormann, Goebbels, Frau Goebbels, and Hitler’s two secretaries, Frau Gerda Christian and Frau Junge, were invited into the private suite. Junge would not come right away as she was typing across the hall. Wagner lingered for some 20 minutes at the reception. He munched a liverwurst sandwich, had one or two glasses of champagne, chatted with the bride, and headed back to the front lines.
For part of the time General of Infantry Hans Krebs, Lt. Gen. Wilhelm Burgdorf, and Lt. Col. Nicholaus von Below (Hitler’s Luftwaffe Adjutant since 1937) came in and joined the party, as did Werner Naumann (State Secretary in Ministry of Propaganda since 1944), Arthur Axmann (Reich Youth Leader since 1940), Ambassador Walter Hewel (permanent representative of Foreign Ministry to Hitler at Fuehrer headquarters since 1940), Heinz Linge (Hitler’s valet), SS-Major Otto Guensche (personal adjutant to Hitler), and Fraulein Manzialy, the vegetarian cook. There they sat for hours, drinking champagne and tea, eating sandwiches, and talking. Hitler spoke again of his plans of suicide and expressed his belief that National Socialism was finished and would never revive (or would not resurrect so soon again), and that death would be a relief to him now that he had been deceived and betrayed by his best friends.
While Junge was busy typing the two documents, the wedding took place and the party had begun. At some point during the party Junge stopped her typing and walked across the corridor to the room where the party was taking place to express her congratulations to the newlyweds and wish them luck. She stayed for less than fifteen minutes and then returned to her typing.
And during the time she was typing, Hitler left the party and came in three times in order to ask how far she had gotten. According to Junge, Hitler would look in and say “Are you ready?” and she said, “No my Fuehrer, I am not ready yet.” Bormann and Goebbels also kept coming to see if she was finished. Not only did these comings and goings make Junge nervous and delay the process, but being upset about the whole situation, Junge made several typographical errors. Those were only crossed out in ink.
Also complicating the finishing of the typing was that the names of some appointments of the new Doenitz government needed to be added to the political testament. During the course of the wedding party, Hitler discussed and negotiated the matter with Bormann and Goebbels. While she was typing the clean copies of the political testament from her shorthand notes, Goebbels or Bormann came in alternately to give her the names of the ministers of the future government, a process that lasted until she had finished typing the three copies.
Towards 5am, Junge finished typing the three copies each of the political testament and personal will. They were timed at 4am as that was when she had begun her typing of the first copy of the political testament. Just as she finished, Goebbels came to her and wanted the documents, almost tearing the last piece of paper from the typewriter. She gave them to Goebbels without having a chance to review the final product because Goebbels was in such a hurry. She asked Goebbels whether they still wanted her. Goebbels said “no, lie down and have a rest.” Junge went into one of the room where there were sleeping accommodations and lay down. At that point Eva Braun had already retired and the wedding party had ended or just about to end. Goebbels, meanwhile, took the copies of the documents to Hitler.
The documents were ready to be signed. First Hitler asked Goebbels and Bormann whether everything was correct. Apparently they answered in the affirmative. The personal will was signed by Hitler and signed by the witnesses: Bormann, Goebbels, and von Below. The political testament was also signed at the same time by Hitler and the witnesses Goebbels, Bormann, Burgdorf, and Krebs. After signing the wills, sometime before 6am, Hitler retired to rest.
Junge believed that Hitler would send the documents out by courier and then his suicide would only be a question of a short time. He only wanted to wait, she thought, for a confirmation that the wills had arrived at their destination before committing suicide. By 6am with her work completed, Junge slept for some hours in the bunker and then retreated to the shelter room of the New Chancellery, which she shared with Frau Christian, Miss Krueger (Bormann’s secretary), and three Reich Chancellery secretaries.
The marriage certificate in translation:
Bibliographic information will furnished at the end of the final post in this series.
TAGS Adolf Hitler
, Arthur Axmann
, Eva Braun
, Gerda Christian
, Gertrude Junge
, Greg Bradsher
, Hans Krebs
, Heinz Linge
, Josef Goebbels
, Martin Bormann
, Nicholaus von Below
, Otto Guensche
, Walter Hewel
, Walter Wagner
, Werner Naumann
Today’s post is written by Dr. Greg Bradsher.
The National Archives began to think, after the invasion of North Africa in World War II, of the practical importance of records in connection with the government of conquered territory. Archivist of the United States Solon J. Buck and senior National Archives official Oliver W. Holmes took an active interest in the proper organization of archives in enemy and other occupied territory and, according to The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas, “were primarily responsible for establishing plans and personnel for the effective preservation of much of this irreplaceable documentary material.” Also taking an interest in the fate of archives and records in Europe was Dr. Ernst Posner, professor of archival administration at American University.
Ernst Maximilian Posner, born in Berlin on August 9, 1892, attended the University of Berlin and served in the peacetime military. When World War I began he rejoined the infantry and saw action on both the western and eastern fronts, and before he was mustered out in December 1918, he had been awarded both first and second class of the Iron Cross. He then resumed his studies at the University of Berlin, where he received his doctorate in 1920, and that year he became an archivist with the Prussian State Privy Archives. As a result of the Nuremberg laws of 1935, he was involuntarily pensioned off from his position.
In 1938, deciding it was time for he and his wife to leave Germany, Posner made a two-month trip to the United State to explore job prospects. While in this country he delivered, in English, a lecture at the National Archives in April on German archival administration. Despite Buck thinking highly of Posner he was not in a position to offer employment. Posner returned to Germany, and then in November, after the Kristallnacht riots, he was arrested and imprisoned for six weeks in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In January 1939, thanks in part to Buck’s assistance, American University offered Posner a lectureship in archival administration. It was not until much later that year he was able to get to the United States, where, in the fall of 1939, he began teaching, with Buck, a two-semester course entitled “The History and Administration of Archives” at American University. After Buck became Archivist of the United States in 1941, Posner taught the course by himself. Besides teaching archives administration he subsequently taught in the History Department, including, among others, courses on the Middle Ages, Europe, Germany, and historical research.
Posner’s suggestive paper, entitled “Public Records Under Military Occupation,” first read to a small luncheon group at the National Archives on May 5, 1943 and soon thereafter published by the National Archives, was the spark that, according to Holmes, “suddenly lit our sluggish imagination and opened our eyes to the importance of protecting records as a military measure.”
Posner’s paper prompted Fred Waldo Shipman, Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, NY, who had listened to Posner’s presentation, to write a memorandum the next day to President Roosevelt in which he set forth the importance of protecting records in war areas, both for their eventual usefulness to military government and for their cultural value. Two days later Roosevelt read the memorandum at one of his regular cabinet meetings and asked that the members give the problem their attention and issue any orders required to ensure that records in war areas were given necessary protection.
Following up on Roosevelt’s interest and concern, on May 8, General George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, sent cables to Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower (then Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces) and Jacob L. Devers (then commander of European Theater of Operations, United States Army) that it was felt that the great loss suffered in the past because local archives in cities and towns had been destroyed could be avoided during the war if special care was taken to preserve such archives. He informed them that the President was anxious that every effort possible be made for their preservation at the time of initial occupation and during the period of occupation, and all appropriate commanders in the field were directed to issue the necessary instructions to prevent damage to archives in localities occupied.
The first full meeting of the American Council of Learned Societies’ Committee on Protection of Cultural Treasures in War Areas took place on in New York City on June 25. At the meeting, Buck, who was a member of the committee, expressed the hope that archival material would not be overlooked and that information concerning this material was readily available in the National Archives. Copies of Posner’s paper were circulated and Buck stated that Posner would be interested in helping to prepare a full inventory of archival institutions of Europe.
On July 9, William B. Dinsmoor, acting in his capacity as chairman of the Committee on Protection of Cultural Treasures in War Areas and the committee’s executive secretary Sumner Crosby met with Maj. Gen. J. H. Hilldring, Chief of the Civil Affairs Division of the War Department. At this meeting Hilldring approved the committee’s idea of providing the War Department with cultural maps. Five days later Dinsmoor wrote Hilldring that the committee was proceeding with the greatest possible speed in the preparation of maps of cities in European war areas, beginning with Italy. He noted that the collection of the factual data to accompany the maps was proceeding in collaboration with the Library of Congress, National Archives, and the Smithsonian Institution and that on July 15 they were preparing to start a similar program at the Frick Art Reference Library.
Early in July, Dinsmoor and Crosby visited the National Archives and asked for its advice and cooperation in the development of lists of cultural monuments, treasures, and institutions to be made available to the armed forces, the military authorities having already indicated to these committee officials that such lists would be welcome and highly useful. A plan for the compilation and furnishing of such information by the National Archives on archival repositories in Europe was presented and agreed upon.
Most of the needed information was in the National Archives library, but a person of Posner’s background, knowledge, and general ability was required to interpret and organize it in usable form. Posner was eager to help. The National Archives furnished overall supervision, materials, typing assistance, and assistance in revision, and editing; and, according to Holmes, Posner addressed the project “with his customary energy and efficiency in the months that followed, giving, except for his classes, almost full time to the project.” Work was begun on archival repositories in Italy a few days before the invasion of Sicily on July 10. Before that campaign was over, information as to the name, location, official head, holdings, and buildings for some 140 archival repositories had been furnished on four-by-six inch cards to Dinsmoor’s committee. Similar information to that produced on Italian archives was furnished for archival repositories in Greece, Yugoslavia, Rumania, and Bulgaria in August. Before the end of September, similar material had been furnished for about 370 archival repositories in France.
At the end of August, Buck, in sending a copy of the National Archives-Posner 29-page listing of archival repositories to Hilldring, wrote that the National Archives had been compiling for and sending to the Committee on Protection of Cultural Treasures in War Areas data concerning archival repositories in various countries. He noted that the National Archives had furnished data on archival repositories to the committee for Italy, Greece, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia and they were nearly ready for France. These data, he wrote, were supplied in the form of slips, in order that they may be readily combined with data from other sources. Buck wrote that the National Archives had put together the data concerning Italian archival repositories and reproduced it in a limited number of hectographed copies, one of which he was transmitting. He asked Hilldring whether, in his opinion, similar assembled lists of archival repositories in other countries would be likely to be of sufficient use to justify the National Archives proceeding to produce the hectographed copies for other countries, in addition, of course, to the combined data that would be supplied by the Committee on Protection of Cultural Treasures in War Areas. Upon his receipt of “Archival Repositories in Italy,” Hilldring had a copy immediately sent to General Eisenhower, where it was intended that it be distributed to the proper officer for use in protection of archives within Italy.
On September 7, Hilldring responded to Buck that until the War Department had received reports on the usefulness of the Italian list he was not in a position to say whether the National Archives should prepare similar assembled lists for other countries. If possible, however, he informed Buck that he believed that the project should be coordinated with pending studies of the newly established American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe (in 1944 “Europe” changed to “War Areas”). He added that on August 25, the Commission had held its organizational meeting and appointed various committees to consider the whole problem of protecting works and materials of cultural, historical, and scientific value in countries occupied by the Allies. Hilldring wrote that he was hopeful that one result of these studies would include the Commission’s preparation of a comprehensive program for the protection and restitution of all such works and materials. Such a program might well contain specific recommendations covering the points raised by Buck’s letter, if the Commission considered that archival repositories and materials were included within its responsibilities. Hilldring noted that he agreed with Buck that every practicable effort should be taken to preserve local archives, and that the War Department would be glad to consider any specific additional measures consistent with military necessity that the National Archives might recommend. He added that ample general instructions had already been issued for all efforts to be made to preserve local archives and to utilize the information contained therein.
As it turned out, the Committee, the Commission, and the War Department welcomed the assistance the National Archives provided, all realizing the importance of archives and archival institutions. Much of the information on archival repositories in enemy-occupied territory that the National Archives furnished army authorities was incorporated onto maps prepared by the Committee on the Protection of Cultural Treasures in War Areas and published and distributed by the Military Government Division of the Provost Marshal General (PMG)’s Office. Lists of archival repositories and information on record keeping practices of existing agencies were also furnished directly to the PMG’s Office, which distributed them to overseas theaters of operations. These lists contained the names, location, official head, holdings and buildings for 1,619 important archival repositories in Europe. When these lists of archival repositories were received they were generally used as reference tools by Intelligence units and the information in them incorporated on maps used by bomber commands. They were also distributed to the Monuments Men of the various Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives units for the purpose of identifying and checking on the fate of important archival collections, and subsequently providing for their care and protection.
For additional information regarding Posner, the National Archives, and the protection of European archives see Security Classified General Correspondence, 1943-July 1949, General Records, Civil Affairs Division, Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs, Record Group 165; The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas, Report of The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1946); Oliver W. Holmes, “The National Archives and the Protection of Records in War Areas,” American Archivist, Vol. IX No. 2 (April 1946), pp. 110-127; and, Rodney A. Ross, “Ernst Posner: The Bridge Between the Old World and the New,” The American Archivist, Vol. 44 No. 4(Fall 1981), pp. 304-313.
TAGS American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas
, American Council of Learned Societies
, American University
, Committee on Protection of Cultural Treasures in War Areas
, concentration camp
, Dwight D. Eisenhower
, Ernst Posner
, Franklin D. Roosevelt
, Fred Waldo Shipman
, General George C. Marshall
, Greg Bradsher
, Iron Cross
, J. H. Hilldring
, Jacob L. Devers
, Library of Congress
, Monuments Men
, National Archives
, Oliver W. Holmes
, Prussian State Privy Archives
, RG 165
, Roosevelt Library
, Solon J. Buck
, Sumner Crosby
, United States Army
, University of Berlin
, War Department
, William B. Dinsmoor
, World War II
Today’s post is written by David Pfeiffer, a reference archivist at Archives II in College Park, Maryland.
There has always been public interest in railroad accident reports, especially by genealogists eager to learn the circumstances of an accident that an ancestor was involved in. The National Archives at College Park textual reference has accident report summaries and accident investigation case files dating between 1911 and 1993.
A typical example of these accident reports is the accident report file of a head-on collision between two freight trains of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad operating under the Chessie System near Orleans Road, West Virginia, on February 12, 1980, which was recently requested by a researcher. The accident involved one fatality. The fireman on the train designated Extra #4367 West was killed and three others were injured. The engineer of Extra #6474 East was also injured. At the time of the accident, the weather was clear and the temperature was 30 degrees.
The following is a chronology of the accident according to excerpts from the accident report. After testing the brakes, the train of Extra #6374 East left Cumberland, Maryland, at 4:50 a.m., with two locomotives, 111 cars, and a caboose and a crew of four, including the engineer, conductor, brakeman and flagman. Extra #4367, which had originated in Philadelphia, left Brunswick, Maryland, at 4:21 a.m., with two locomotives, 42 loaded flat cars, and a caboose. The crew consisted of an engineer, fireman, brakeman, conductor, and flagman. The report states:
“[Extra 4367 West] was on the left hand track (#2 Main) at about 45 miles per hour and passed a signal at Milepost 137 that was observed displaying an approach indication. A brake application was made with the intention of stopping clear of the westward signal located just west of Milepost 139 (near Orleans Road)… The engineer dimmed his lights after seeing a reflection on the tracks. He thought that the approaching train was on the other (#1 Main) track. Visibility on the curve was restricted to about 400 yards by a wooded ridge on the inside of the curve. After realizing that a collision was imminent, there was very little time to take action. The train was travelling at 30 mph when the collision occurred approximately 1/2 mile east of MP 139. The leading locomotive was derailed and the right side was demolished by trailing cars in the train which overran the unit. The second locomotive and seven cars derailed, however the rest of the train was undamaged.”
Since the engineer of Extra 6474 East sustained brain injuries, the precise order of events from the standpoint of that train could not be determined. Apparently, however, the speed of the train increased after passing a signal displaying an approach (slow down and stop at the next signal) aspect. The speed of the train was 24 mph at the time of the collision, which resulted in the derailment of both locomotives and ten cars.
Estimated damages to equipment and track consisted of four locomotives, 18 freight cars, and track for a total of $1,579,550. The official cause of the accident according to the field investigator was that the “engineman of Extra 6474 East failed to operate the train in accordance with signal indications.”
This accident report file (A-4-80) was included in the Accident Investigation Report Files, 1969-93, in the records of the Federal Railroad Administration (Record Group 399) which are by far the largest series of accident reports (172 cubic feet). These files typically include the factual accident report, copies of the railroad rules and regulations that relate to the accident, other railroad publications including timetables, statements of witnesses to the accident, railroad test and inspection data reports, railroad bulletins and notices, railroad investigation reports, and drawings and photographs of the wreckage at the accident site. These records have not been completely processed and there are privacy issues especially with medical information and witness reports in the files.
The National Archives at College Park textual reference has custody of several record series of railroad accident reports. In the records of the Interstate Commerce Commission (Record Group 134), there are the Railroad Accident Investigation Reports, 1911-63. These records include summaries of accident report investigations. In the records of the Federal Railroad Administration (Record Group 399), there are several series of reports, including the Reports of Investigations of Railroad Accidents, 1950-64, and the Published Accident Reports, 1947-60, which are additional summaries. The Railroad Accident Investigation Jackets, 1969-71, and the aforementioned Accident Investigation Report Files, 1969-93, include the actual case files of the accident investigations.
There are also Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) accident report databases, dating after 1968, in the custody of the National Archives Center for Electronic Records.
The researcher of these records should keep in mind that in order to search these records, textual reference needs to know the name of the railroad and the location and date of the accident. Textual reference also needs to know whether the Federal Railroad Administration or the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the accident, if the accident is dated after 1968. If the accident investigation was done by the NTSB, the National Archives does not have custody of the records.
If you are interested in requesting information from or copies of railroad accident reports, please contact email@example.com.
In addition, it is useful to note that the railroad accident reports summaries, dating 1911 to 1994, are available full-text online on the USDOT Library Special Collections website at http://specialcollection.dotlibrary.dot.gov/.
Today’s post, written by Dr. Sylvia Naylor, is the next installment to an ongoing series of posts on real-life Monuments Men. See related posts on Sir Charles Leonard Woolley, Walter J. Huchthausen, Seymour J. Pomrenze, Mason Hammond, Edith Standen, Karol Estreicher, S. Lane Faison, Sir Hilary Jenkinson, Walter Horn, Douglas Cooper, Ronald Balfour and Walter Hancock.
The newly released movie, The Monuments Men, has focused great attention on the Monuments Men (and women) and their work during and after World War II. Of course the movie cannot tell the story of the over 300 individuals involved in Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFA&A) work, so it focuses on three: George Stout, James Rorimer, and Rose Valland, played by George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Cate Blanchett respectively. Beginning in December 2013, Dr. Greg Bradsher thought it would be illustrative to discuss some of the lesser known individuals, and thus started a series of blog posts. I wanted to bring attention to Julianna Bumbar, a Monuments Woman who was actively engaged in restitution work in post-war Germany.
Julianna Bumbar was born on July 24, 1920 in Buffalo, New York. Her parents, Elko and Mary Bumbar, were both born in Galicia to Ukrainian-speaking families and immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. Julianna completed high school and worked as a grocery packer before she enlisted as an aviation cadet in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) on September 18, 1942, shortly after it was established.
In August 1945, 1st Lt. Bumbar reported for duty with the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFA&A) Section, Reparations, Deliveries and Restitutions (RD&R) Division in Höchst, Germany. She worked as administrative officer under Lt. Col. Mason Hammond, with whom she developed a close working relationship. On November 26, 1945, Lt. Col. Hammond wrote a letter to “Julie” during a trip to the United States that provided her with both a summary of his travels and suggestions regarding ongoing restitution work. He closed the letter as follows: “All my best to the boys. Sent you all a couple of packages for Xmas which will probably be too late for your Xmas party but may do at some point.”
While working in the Restitution Branch, Economics Division, Office of Military Government for Germany, US (OMGUS), Lt. Bumbar participated in several restitution tasks. She was one of the three MFA&A officers who accompanied Dr. Karol Estreicher on the train carrying Nazi looted treasures, including Cracow’s Veit Stoss altarpiece, back to Poland. After this restitution trip was complete, Lt. Bumbar prepared a detailed report titled “Informal Report Covering Return of Veit Stoss Altar and Cultural Objects to Poland,” dated May 24, 1946. Traveling as the group’s interpreter, she described both the positive and the negative aspects of this endeavor. She noted that the Polish people and officials were very grateful and enthusiastic and that the American delegation was received very warmly with the utmost honors. The American delegation attended several events, including a dinner and dance hosted by the Polish Army. During this event, the train commander, MFA&A officer Lt. Frank P. Albright, presented a toast, thanking the people of the city of Cracow and its organizations for the many hospitalities they extended. His toast, translated into Polish by Lt. Bumbar, “was well received.” In May 1946, the Polish Government officially recognized several MFA&A officers involved in the returning of looted objects, in particular the Veit Stoss altar. Lt. Bumbar received the Silver Cross of Merit (Srebrny Krzyż Zasługi), a Polish civil state award.
[Click any image below to enlarge.]
Lt. Bumbar was honorably discharged in 1946 and joined the Air Force Reserve. Upon returning to the United States, she married Edmund W. Glinski, a fellow World War II veteran. She subsequently served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1952 and retired from the Air Force Reserve in 1962 with the rank of major. Throughout her military career, she received the American Campaign Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Maj. Julianna B. Glinski died on May 11, 1995 after a brief illness.
Informal Report Covering Return of Veit Stoss Altar and Cultural Objects to Poland, May 24, 1946; Administrative Records, 1944-1951 (National Archives Identifier 2435799); Records Concerning the Central Collecting Points (“Ardelia Hall Collection”): Wiesbaden Central Collecting Point, 1945-1952 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1947, roll 29); Records of the U.S. Occupation Headquarters, World War II, Record Group 260; National Archives at College Park, MD.
TAGS Air Force Reserve
, American Campaign Medal
, Army of Occupation Medal
, Edmund W. Glinski
, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
, Frank P. Albright
, Julianna Bumbar
, looted art
, Monuments Men
, Silver Cross of Merit
, Sylvia Naylor
, Women's Army Auxiliary Corps
, World War II Victory Medal
Today’s post comes to us from archivist Theresa Fitzgerald of the National Archives at St. Louis. Theresa has previously shared her expertise with us in a popular post on how to access veterans’ records and today she applies that knowledge to another topic we love, the Monuments Men.
The recently released film, The Monuments Men, has garnered interest in the efforts during World War II to preserve art, culture, and history. As anticipation grew for the movie’s release, the staff at the National Archives at St. Louis became interested in locating and studying the Official Military Personnel Files of the decorated veterans who were to become known as “Monuments Men.” The Official Military Personnel Files provide further detail into the men’s involvement and specific orders depicting their activities.
One record that elicited particular interest is that of Walker Kirtland Hancock. In the movie his character’s name is Sgt. Walter Garfield and he is played by fellow St. Louis native, John Goodman. Hancock was born on June 28, 1901 in St. Louis, Missouri, home to the National Personnel Records Center, the central repository of all Official Military Personnel Files for veterans spanning the course of the late 19th to the late 20th centuries.
Hancock began his education at the School of Fine Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. He proceeded to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the American Academy in Rome. Upon graduation he became the head of the sculpture department at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1929. During this period in his career he created many works of art: most notably for St. Louis are the statues of four monumental sculpture groups: Vision, Courage, Sacrifice, and Loyalty. These granite monuments were created between 1936 and 1938 and are located outside of the St. Louis Soldiers’ Memorial. In addition to honoring the military outside of the Soldier’s Memorial, Hancock performed his civic duty and registered with the Selective Service System on February 16, 1942.
[Click on any image below to enlarge.]
Hancock was drafted into the Army of the United States on October 12, 1942 and assigned serial number 31210708. He served with the Medical Corps and trained as a medic until he was transferred to Washington, D.C. for temporary duty at the Army War College. At the Army War College he had the task of designing the Air Medal. This was an honor that he had won in a competition that was held prior to the war. He served as an enlisted man until February 19, 1943, when he was separated from the service in order to accept a temporary appointment as First Lieutenant with the Army Air Forces of the United States.
Upon his promotion to First Lieutenant, Hancock became part of Military Intelligence. Due to his studies in art and sculpture at the American Academy in Rome, where he had resided for four years, and his time studying art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Hancock was immersed in European culture and language and was fluent in French and Italian.
After earning his degrees from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the American Academy in Rome, and an honorary doctorate degree from Washington University in St. Louis, he had spent thirteen years teaching and directing the activities of young men as the Director and Instructor of Sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His language and leadership skills made him the perfect candidate for a position in Military Intelligence:
After seven months of service at the Pentagon in Military Intelligence, he was promoted to Captain and notified of the President’s creation of the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe. In order to implement the recommendations of the Commission, officers such as Hancock, were allocated as advisors for the preservation of museums and monuments. It was at this time in 1943 that he took his place as a Captain with the U.S. Army, Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (M.F.A.A.).
As Captain with the M.F.A.A. he was instrumental in compiling lists of protected monuments for France and directives relating to them. Many of his efforts were put forth to identify buildings of historic or artistic importance, as well as archives and movable works of art, so as to prevent avoidable damage. He spent time inventorying collections and providing emergency treatment to prevent deterioration of works of art. Finally, Hancock located numerous depositories of works of art and arranged their safeguarding during combat and carried out the evacuation of the contents to the U.S. Army collection points.
Upon his release from the military on March 5, 1946, Hancock returned to his position as Director with the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. A year after his release from active duty he was promoted to Major for his various contributions to the war effort and for the protection of such important works of art and history.
After the war he continued his contributions to veterans and the military. He was commissioned to create such works as the Pennsylvania Railroad War Memorial located in Philadelphia, a tribute to the thousands of Pennsylvania railroad employees who sacrificed their lives during World War II. Other commissions consisted of the U.S. Air Mail Flyers Medal and the Army and Navy Air Medals.
Hancock received many awards for his achievements during the war and after. His wartime service garnered him the American Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the European, African, Middle Eastern Service Medal. Civilian achievements include the George D. Widener Memorial Gold Medal, the Herbert Adams Medal of Honor, the National Medal of Art, and the Medal of Freedom.
Hancock continued his work in art and sculpture up until his death on December 30, 1998.
Hancock’s records are part of RG 319: Records of the Army Staff, 1903-2009, Official Military Personnel Files, compiled 1912-1998. More information on accessing military personnel files is available here.
TAGS American Academy
, American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas
, Army Air Force
, Army War College
, Captain Walter Hancock
, looted art
, Military Intelligence Service
, Monuments Men
, National Archives at St. Louis
, Official Military Personnel Files
, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
, Selective Service System
, Theresa Fitzgerald
, United States Army
, Washington University in St. Louis
, World War II