National Geographic : 1946 Jan
Europe's Looted Art 51 opened fire and, in the ensuing battle, many paintings were pierced with bullets and scores of statues were decap itated or damaged in other ways. The 101st Airborne Division also found evidence of looting. However, the com manding officer of the G-5 section of the 101st Airborne Division took very seriously the re sponsibility of guard ing the collections. Be fore the arrival of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives officers, he had gathered every thing together and placed it in a near-by inn, where I had an opportunity to examine the collection just be fore its removal to Munich. The collec tion is very uneven and the damage consider able, but the most im portant works of art from the Rothschild Collection and other collections are, by good fortune, relatively in tact. The best paintings Two Swords of Frederick the Great Are Found in a Salt Mine and sculpture from Alt and sculpture ifrom t Two thousand feet underground, near Bernterode, the Germans hid the coffins Aussee and the entire of Frederick the Great and Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, the Hohen Goering Collection zollern crown jewels, and other treasures. Behind the swords is a painting from from Berchtesgaden a Potsdam museum. Concealed by a concrete wall, the deposit might have have been taken to gone undiscovered, had it not been for the alertness of a GI sapper (page 49). Munich to several of the largest government buildings which es- will concentrate their efforts on the identi- caped damage. Here a group of 90 German laborers, pack ers, curators, and librarians, with some 190 American guards, under the direction of Monu ments, Fine Arts, and Archives officers, are preparing the material for restoration. In all cases where restoration of an emer gency nature is absolutely necessary for pres ervation, German restorers, supervised by American experts, are available for first aid. Only such essential first aid as removing mold, if it exists, or pasting on paper to hold flaking paint will be given, however; the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives officers fication and cataloguing of the collections. This has been facilitated by the discovery of the Rosenberg inventory and other German documents and by the capture of the prin cipal advisers to Goering, who are available for consultation. Plans for Return of Treasures When the loot has been inspected and identi fied, the United States will return it to the country from which the Nazis removed it. The question of individual ownership does not concern our Government, but will be the re sponsibility of each individual nation.