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One of 39 "Hitler albums" of looted Nazi art given to the National Archives in Washington
National Archives senior conservator Morgan Zinsmeister arranges the last known leather-bound “Hitler Album” to display for a press conference at the National Archives in Washington, DC, on May 8. 2014. To mark the May 8 anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe in 1945, the National Archives unveiled the “Hitler Album” of art works stolen by the Nazis during the war. The Monuments Men Foundation donated to the National Archives this album, which was found at Hitler's home in Berchtesgaden, Germany, in the closing days of the war and has since been in private hands. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad.
WASHINGTON (AFP).- A photo album depicting troves of precious art works looted by the Nazis during World War II was donated Thursday to the National Archives, America's repository of historical artifacts.

The album is one of 39 "Hitler albums" -- essentially a catalogue of art confiscated by troops operating under orders from Der Fuerher.

The book contains photos of looted paintings and other cultural artifacts swiped from France.

The album was given to the National Archives at a ceremony that fell on the anniversary of the war's end in Europe.

The event was attended by Harry Ettlinger, 88, one of six surviving soldiers from a US army unit tasked with recovering thousands of art works confiscated by the Nazis.

The album showed page after page of black and white photographs, images, in this case, of artwork stolen from France. The leatherbound book was recovered from one of Hitler's homes.

The album was donated to the National Archives by the "Monuments Men" Foundation, whose mission is to disseminate the story about the lost works of art and the Allied soldiers who helped recover them.

The story of the military's art recovery units was popularized in the movie "The Monuments Men," written by and starring George Clooney. The film opened across US movie screens in February.

The photo albums served as important evidence of Nazi crimes, and were used at war trials to show the extent of pillaging and looting carried out by the Nazis during the war.


© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse






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May 9, 2014

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