Robert Edsel, author of The Monuments Men, the book on which the film was based, will speak at the National Archives tonight at 7 p.m. You also watch online at Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives. Edsel and a panel will discuss his books as well as the recent film adaptation. The panel includes our senior archivist Greg Bradsher.
The Monuments Men opened in theaters on February 7, but its origins began at our very own National Archives nearly 20 years ago.
Senior archivist Greg Bradsher has been at the National Archives for 37 years. Early in his career, he processed and appraised records relating to Holocaust-era assets. For him, the story of the Monuments Men is a massive treasure hunt spanning the globe.
“In the mid- to late-1990s, Holocaust-era assets suddenly became a hot topic,” Bradsher recalled. ”At the time, I was the Assistant Branch Chief to Research Services at Archives II, so they asked me to become an expert since I already had the knowledge to deal with different researcher interests.”
His expertise came in handy when then-researcher Miriam Kleiman came to Archives II in March 1996 looking for records related to Swiss bank accounts during the Holocaust. Naturally, Bradsher was tapped to assist her. (Kleiman is now working at the National Archives as a Public Affairs specialist and occasional blogger.)
“Within weeks, the Senate had hearings … [ Read all ]
Posted by Victoria on February 19, 2014, under - World War II, News and Events.
Tags: Bill Clinton, Greg Bradsher, Holocaust, Manet, Merkers, Monuments Men, Robert Edsel, Senate hearings, stolen art, WWII
Don’t miss Robert Edsel at the National Archives on February 19 at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Today’s blog post comes from Miriam Kleiman of the National Archives Public Affairs Office.
The new Monuments Men blockbuster film opens with Herman Goering gleefully viewing looted artwork at a Parisian art museum. The biggest art theft in history–the Nazi’s systematic and looting of more than a million items–was spearheaded and managed by Alfred Rosenberg. For the first time, anyone (who reads German) can read Rosenberg’s diary and peek inside the mind of an architect of Nazi policy and the top art looter of the of the Nazi Regime.
Rosenberg’s diary was collected for possible use as evidence at Nuremberg, where prosecutors noted its importance: “Perhaps foremost among the prize acquisitions [of the captured records] was the neatly crated collection of all the personal and official correspondence of Alfred Rosenberg…” Rosenberg was convicted of crimes against humanity and hanged in 1946.
The bulk of his diary vanished shortly afterwards and has been recovered only recently with the help of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Justice. The diary was transferred to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on December 17, 2013, and is now available online.
Alfred Rosenberg headed the Third Reich’s Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, or ERR, the main agency for the … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on February 18, 2014, under - World War II.
Tags: Alfred Rosenberg, art history, Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, ERR, germany, Greg Bradsher, Herman Goering, Monuments Men, Nazis, Office of Strategic Services, OSS, Robert Edsel, WWII
As the recently-opened movie Monuments Men plays around the country, there’s one macabre story you won’t see on the silver screen.
It’s about the remains of German leaders, including Frederick the Great and Frederick William I.
The Germans had hidden the caskets containing the bodies of the Fredericks and former Weimar President Paul von Hindenburg and his wife in a mine in a remote area to conceal them from the approaching Russian troops. But the war ended, and U.S. troops made it to the mine first and found the caskets. They were in a room divided into different compartments hung with brilliants flags.
Capt. Walker K. Hancock, an officer specialist with the Monuments Men, described the scene: “Crawling through the opening into the hidden room, I was at once forcibly struck with the realization that this was no ordinary deposit of works of art. The place had the aspect of a shrine . . . all suggested the setting for a modern pagan ritual.”
Naval Reserve Lt. George Stout, one of the foremost experts on art conservation, later described the casket in an oral history interview with the Archives of American Art in 1978. In the movie, Clooney’s character is based on Stout.
Along with the caskets were treasures from the Hohenzollern Museum in Berlin, including items used at the 1701 coronation of King Frederick … [ Read all ]
Today’s post comes from Alan Walker, archivist at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
Now, maybe it’s happened to you: that “needle in a haystack,” “home run,” unbelievable find that blew you away, and brought joy to a researcher. We archival folks live for that moment.
Let me share with you one such moment from my career. During busy times in the Still Picture Branch, the processing staff can be called upon to help answer reference letters, or staff the research room. One day in early 1995, I was asked to help with the backlog of letters.
This one from Mr. Evan Evans looked promising:
A 90mm antiaircraft gun? No problem! We have tons of photos of various artillery pieces and vehicles in our files. Or so I thought.
I spent half the day trying to track down a decent shot of the antiaircraft gun Mr. Evans requested, and I came up empty. Then I read through his letter again. He and his gun crew set a record for downing 12 Japanese bombers over Rendova? Maybe they had been photographed after their feat; the military services are always on the lookout for a good story to tell the folks back home.
So I checked out series 127-GW, under the heading Rendova . . . and what do you know?
Needless to say, … [ Read all ]
A recently discovered album donated to the National Archives by Monuments Men Foundation President Robert M. Edsel is on display until February 20, 2014. The album is open to a photograph of an important painting by master French painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Girl Holding a Dove was repatriated by the Monuments Men in 1946. It sold at auction in 2000 for over $5 million.
In addition to the Featured Document display, the National Archives will host an evening with Robert Edsel on Wednesday, February 19, at 7 p.m. Edsel will discuss his books and the recent film adaptation starring George Clooney, and his work as founder and president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art.
Perhaps the most unlikely heroes to emerge from World War II, the Monuments Men (and women) were a multinational group of curators, art historians, and museum directors who saved centuries of artistic and cultural treasures from destruction. Trading hushed galleries and libraries for besieged European cities, the men and women of the Monuments, Fine Art, and Archives Program risked their lives to protect museums, churches, and monuments from combat.
They also tracked down and recovered thousands of priceless artworks stolen by the Nazis—much of it from Jewish families. In the final weeks of the war, the Monuments Men discovered numerous hiding places—including mines and abandoned castles—where the … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on January 13, 2014, under Uncategorized.
Tags: and Archives Program, art, Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, ERR, Fine Art, George Clooney, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, monuments, Monuments Men, national archives, Nazis, Nuremburg trials, Robert Edsel, stolen art, World War II, WWII