National Geographic : 1946 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine John Walker Had These Bombs Gone Off, Many of Europe's Greatest Treasures Would Have Been Lost American soldiers and salt miners gather around a wooden crate marked "Care-Marble-Don't Upset," which contained the bombs to blow up the mine at Alt Aussee, in Austria. Buried in tunnels and chambers were thousands of paintings and sculptures, mountains of furniture, acres of tapestries-loot of the occupied countries. Fearful that the mine would be destroyed, local miners removed the charges before they could be set off (page 50). How long will it take to repatriate these looted treasures? Unfortunately I cannot say, for the immensity of the job makes any pre diction impossible. All I can state is that we have a number of our best museum men as signed to the complicated task of assembling and inventorying this huge collection, larger, I should judge, than all the collections of the Louvre. They are working as rapidly as care ful handling will permit. They are just as eager to get the job finished and to return to their museums as the United Nations are to recover their property. So much progress has already been made, however, that I believe the time is not far off when this vast pile of loot, varying from the greatest masterpieces to the commonest house hold furnishings, will have been sorted out and returned to the countries from which it was taken. Then, to our great relief, the United States' involuntary custodianship of this property will be at an end, and our Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives officers can at last return to this country and their own professional work. Notice of change of address for your NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE should be received in the ofices of the National Geographic Society by the first of the month to affect the following month's issue. For instance, if you desire the address changed for your March number, The Society should be notified of your new address not later than February first. Be sure to include your new postal zone number.