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monumentsmen19 karma

Adolf Hitler and the Nazis spent almost 10 years looting Europe. It was the greatest theft in history, one that set the Monuments Men off on the greatest treasure hunt in history. This part of history is actually a "today" story, as we can see from the discovery of 1400 works of art found just days ago in the Munich apartment of the son of an art dealer with strong Nazi ties.

In the closing months of the war, in an effort to protect this stolen loot along with millions of items from Germany's own museums, the Nazi officials issued orders to place the works of art in salt mines, caves and castles out of the way of Allied bombing. The Monuments Men ultimately located these works of art in thousands of hiding places. By 1951, they had found and returned more than 5 million stolen items.

monumentsmen14 karma

Truly, so many of the works of art saved by the Monuments Men were priceless then and would be so today. When you consider a painting by Francis Bacon sold at auction yesterday for $143 million dollars, it staggers the mind to imagine what someone might pay today for a sculpture by Michelangelo. Keep in mind, Hitler and the Nazis stole hundreds of thousands of works by such artists…

One of the most incredible parts of the story took place in Italy with the near-destruction of Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper. An Allied bomb landed some 80 feet away from the dining hall housing the painting, obliterating one of the long walls (the east wall) which caused the roof to collapse. Had it not been for protective measures taken by local officials on the one-in-a-million chance something like this might happen, the Last Supper would have been reduced to rubble.

In a more humorous sense, there would be no Da Vinci code because the painting would exist only in art history.

monumentsmen14 karma

The Monuments Men found hundreds of thousands of stolen works of art hidden in salt mines and castles by the Nazis. They included sculpture by Michelangelo, paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and the great alter panel by Jan van Eyke to mention a few of the artists' works. Certainly one of the dramatic moments in the story was the discovery of Michelangelo's Bruges Madonna in an Austrian salt mine in the closing days of the war.

monumentsmen9 karma

Only one of the Monuments Men portrayed in the film is still living, however many of these heroes' children and grandchildren are alive to celebrate these heroes' great accomplishments. We are all incredibly excited about the work of George Clooney and Grant Heslov bringing this remarkable story to the attention of audiences worldwide.

monumentsmen9 karma

I'm flattered, but the answer is none. The story concerns a small group of men and one woman, the most unlikely of spies, who risk their lives to save so many of the beautiful treasures of Europe we all enjoy today.