According to an AP report by Jamie Stengle, the Dallas-based Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art was contacted by the friend of an Ohio vet, John Pistone, who picked up a photo album while he was in Hitler’s home near Berchtesgaden, Germany, at the end of WW II.
Turns out it was one of a series that had been compiled for Hitler. They contained photos of artworks that Hitler planned to have in his eventual “Fuhrermuseum” to be built in Linz, Austria, where he grew up.
“Pistone’s album is expected to be formally returned to Germany in a ceremony at the U.S. State Department in January. Germany has 19 other albums discovered at the Berchtesgaden complex that are part of a 31-album collection of works either destined for or being considered for the Linz museum…
Souvenir hunting was routine by soldiers during the war, and problems arise when people try to sell rather than return culturally important items, said Thomas R. Kline, a Washington-based lawyer who specializes in art restitution and works for the foundation.
‘It’s really important that as people go through their attics and they find the things that grandpa brought home, people are aware that something as simple as a book of pictures could have a cultural significance,’ Kline said….
[Dallasite Robert] Edsel started his foundation in 2007 to honor and continue the work of the original Monuments Men, the roughly 345 men and women from 13 nations who helped Allied forces protect cultural treasures during World War II. After the war, they began trying to find the rightful owners of pieces of art looted by the Nazis, hundreds of thousands of which are still missing.”
The recovered album could be instrumental in that search: Not only does it represent a returned cultural artifact itself, the book contains photos of looted artworks.