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Effort to save Europe’s art treasures : The Monuments Men

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Effort to save Europe’s art treasures : The Monuments Men

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Prof. Emeritus Jack Needle In the latest video lecture produced for Brookdale Community College’s Center for World War II Studies and Conflict Resolution, historian and Professor Emeritus of History, Jack Needle discusses “The Monuments Men,” a military project formed to help rescue art and culture of Europe being plundered and stolen by Nazi Germany.

As Hitler was attempting to conquer the western world, his armies were methodically pillaging the finest art in Europe. The Monuments Men had expertise as museum directors, curators, art scholars and educators, artists, architects and archivists. Their job description was simple: to save as much of the culture of Europe as they could during World War II.

The group of men and women from 13 nations not only had the vision to understand the grave threat to the greatest cultural and artistic achievements of civilization but joined the front lines to do something about it. The Monuments Men had a mandate from President Roosevelt and the support of General Eisenhower but no vehicles, gasoline, typewriters, or authority was authorized. It was a race against time to save the world’s greatest cultural treasures from destruction at the hands of Nazi fanatics.

 

In this video, Professor Needle shares the story of these unlikely heroes, many who were volunteers, whose courageous spirit and actions actually enabled the best of humanity to defeat the worst.