Monday, May 27

The Monuments Men

On this Memorial Day, I would like to take time to remember some of the soldiers that went to war in order to preserve art and other cultural artifacts. They are known as The Monuments Men, even though there were women involved as well. When it was discovered that one of Hitler's main goals was to take the great works of European museums for his own private collection these men and women took it upon themselves to reclaim the paintings, sculptures, and other great works of art that had been stolen by the Nazis. These volunteers left jobs as museum directors, curators, art scholars and educators, artists, and archivists. Their one goal was simple, to save European art and cultural artifacts from the ravages of war. Hitler was extremely thorough in gathering his collection and, whenever he had the chance, was known to loot museums like he was shopping at a Macy's day sale.

Thousands of artifacts were found hidden in churches, castles, and even inside a salt mine.

Not all of the stolen works of art have been recovered, and there are continuing efforts to find the missing artifacts. The Monuments Men foundation is now working to preserve the mission of the original Monuments Men, and protect culture during future wars as well. If you feel it in your heart to donate to this organization you can do so here.

If you are interested in learning more about The Monuments Men there is a book, written by Robert Edsel. Also, if you are the type of person who would rather watch your history, there is a movie directed and starred in by George Clooney, scheduled to be released in December.

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