Return of Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine to Poland

Return of Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine to Poland

Harry Ettlinger and Robert Edsel on the Steps of Neuschwanstein

Monuments Man Harry Ettlinger and Robert Edsel visited the Castle of Neuschwanstein

Relocation of the Madonna of La Gleize

Monuments Man Walker Hancock assisted residents with the relocation of the Madonna of La Gleize

Monte Cassino

Monuments Man Lt. Col. Ernest T. Dewald makes his way up to the ruins of Monte Cassino

Germans transporting art to San Leonardo

Germans display Botticelli’s masterpiece, Camilla and the Centaur, from the Uffizi.

Monuments Man Harry Ettlinger and Robert Edsel

Monuments Man Harry Ettlinger and Robert Edsel visited the grave of a Monuments office who was killed in combat

Stout, Hancock and Kovalyak

During the excavation of Bernterode

George Stout and the Ghent Altarpiece

The transporting of the Ghent Altarpiece through the passageways

​Captain Walker Hancock

Captain Walker Hancock, U.S. First Army. Age: 43. Born: St. Louis, Missouri.

Jan Vermeer, "The Astronomer"

Madonna of La Gleize

During the Battle of the Bulge, the church in La Gleize was severely damaged. The statue, known as the Madonna of La Gleize, was fully exposed to one of the harshest winters on record.

​Rose Valland

Rose Valland, Temporary Custodian of the Jeu de Paume. Age: 46. Born: Saint-Etienne-de-Saint-Geoirs, France.

​Captain Robert Posey

Captain Robert Posey, U.S. Third Army. Age: 40. Born: Morris, Alabama.

Manet in Merkers Mine

American GIs admire In the Conservatory, a masterpiece by Edouard Manet.

Goering looking at a Matisse painting

Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring at the Jeu de Paume Museum, Paris, December 2, 1941

La Joconde

Monuments Man James Rorimer and Ecole du Louvre director Robert Rey

​Captain Walter “Hutch” Huchthausen

Captain Walter “Hutch” Huchthausen, U.S. Ninth Army. Age: 40. Born: Perry, Oklahoma.

​Second Lieutenant James J. Rorimer

Second Lieutenant James J. Rorimer, Comm Zone and U.S. Seventh Army. Age: 39. Born: Cleveland, Ohio.

Michelangelo's Bruges Madonna

Stout and Michelangelo's Bruges Madonna

Stout constructed a pulley to lift Michelangelo’s Bruges Madonna onto the salt cart to begin its long trip home to Belgium.

Rorimer at Neuschwanstein

American GIs hand-carried paintings down the steps of the castle under the supervision of Captain James Rorimer.

Torah Scrolls

American Chaplain Samuel Blinder examines a Sefer Torah as a he begins the overwhelming task of sorting and inspecting.

Lieutenant George Stout

Lieutenant George Stout, U.S. First Army and U.S. Twelfth Army Group. Age: 47. Born: Winterset, Iowa.

Vermeer's Astronomer

Vermeer's Astronomer found in the Altaussee mine by the Monuments Men.

Frederick the Great at Bernterode

The bronze coffin of Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia

Harry Ettlinger and Print of Rembrandt's Self Portrait

Almost sixty-five years later, Harry Ettlinger reflects with pride on a life well-lived as a Monuments Man as he stands in front of his grandfather’s print.

Private Harry Ettlinger

Private Harry Ettlinger, U.S. Seventh Army. Age: 18. Born: Karlsruhe, Germany.

Dec. 29, 1943 Eisenhower Order

The Allied Commander-In-Chief General Eisenhower communicated to commanders the importance of respecting monuments and artworks so far as war allowed.

Color Portrait of Da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine

Leonardo da Vinci, Lady with an Ermine (Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani), c. 1483-88.

Major Ronald Edmund Balfour

Major Ronald Edmund Balfour, First Canadian Army. Age in 1944: 40. Orn: Oxfordshire, England.

Painting Racks at Altaussee

ALTAUSSEE, AUSTRIA - MAY 1945: One of the many mine chambers in which the Nazis had constructed wooden shelves to house the enormous number of stolen works of art.

Acerno, Italy

Private Paul Oglesby of the 30th Infantry Regiment pauses to observe this severely damaged church. This was an all too common scene throughout Italy. September 1943.

Hitler and Göring

Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring both had an interest in art, and expanded their personal collections through looting and other illegal methods of acquisition.

Degenerate art

By order of the Führer, more than 16,000 modern works deemed “degenerate” were removed from the walls of German museums.

Museums evacuated in 1939

In fall 1939, museums across Europe evacuated their collections to remote locations in the countryside in anticipation of war.

Ellingen, Germany cache

The Monuments Men encountered repositories such as this one all across Europe. Here, piles of boxes, records, and clothing are guarded by an American GI inside a church in Ellingen, Germany

Aachen Cathedral devastation

This was the scene of devastation that greeted Monuments Man Walker Hancock and other troops of U.S. First Army upon their arrival at the Aachen Cathedral

Bradley, Patton and Eisenhower on inspection

Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley, Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower inspect the German museum treasures stored in the Merkers mine