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"Monuments Men" shines light on WWII's stolen art

Saturday, February 01, 2014 - 01:58

Feb. 1 - Art experts hope the movie behind a little known military mission that began during World War Two raises the profile of efforts to recover art stolen by the Nazis. Nathan Frandino reports.

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On the pages of history, some stories are lost. Others plundered. And for a World War Two platoon called "The Monuments Men," recovering what was stolen by the Nazis was their mission. This is the story that will appear next week on the big screen starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, among others. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GEORGE CLOONEY AND MATT DAMON IN "THE MONUMENTS MEN" (MUST COURTESY SONY PICTURES) SAYING: "Monuments Men. Signed by Roosevelt. I see that. I'm to put a team together and try to protect what's left and find what's missing." The stolen included vast amounts of sculptures, paintings and more, including this piece, "Girl holding a dove". It was stolen, photographed and documented in a leather back album all for Adolf Hitler. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROBERT EDSEL, AUTHOR OF "THE MONUMENTS MEN" AND CHAIRMAN AND FOUNDER OF THE MONUMENTS MEN FOUNDATION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF ART, SAYING: "Hitler would flip through these albums like a mail order catalogue, making selections of the works of art he wanted to have for his museum he was building in Linz, the Fuhrermuseum." Robert Edsel is the author of the book, which inspired the movie of the same name. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GEORGE CLOONEY IN "THE MONUMENTS MEN" (MUST COURTESY SONY PICTURES) SAYING: "Every single one of those paintings was a master piece, and they were all heading for the town of Siegen in Germany." He hopes the film raises the profile of the search for lost art. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROBERT EDSEL, AUTHOR OF "THE MONUMENTS MEN" AND CHAIRMAN AND FOUNDER OF THE MONUMENTS MEN FOUNDATION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF ART, SAYING: "I think that's another of the achievements of what this film's going to allow us to do: Re-establish the standard for protection of cultural treasures and help illuminate the path home for these missing things." At the National Gallery, chief of archives Maygene Daniels is planning an archival display of the story. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAYGENE DANIELS, CHIEF OF GALLERY ARCHIVES, NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART, SAYING: "From our point of view, the important thing to realize is that when you look closely at the story and realize that these were real human beings and young men, the history comes alive and has a lot of richness and that's what we're trying to capture." For Edsel, it's as much a story about life as art. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROBERT EDSEL, AUTHOR OF "THE MONUMENTS MEN" AND CHAIRMAN AND FOUNDER OF THE MONUMENTS MEN FOUNDATION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF ART, SAYING: "I think whether people say they like art or not, I think there'd be consensus opinion that the world would be a lesser place if these things weren't here."

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"Monuments Men" shines light on WWII's stolen art

Saturday, February 01, 2014 - 01:58

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