July 17, 2024
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Last of the ‘Monuments Men’ Speaks at RKYHS

In honor of Veterans Day, RKYHS welcomed Harry Ettlinger, the last surviving member of the “Monuments Men,” whose mission was one of the greatest treasure hunts in history. The Monuments Men focused on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners.

It was thought to be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these men—museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1—possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they risked their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements.

The 350 men involved with the program, which endeavored to save cultural treasures from the front lines and return looted artworks to their rightful owners, were nicknamed the “Monuments Men.” A movie with the same title and a cast that includes George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett and Bill Murray arrived in cinemas in February 2014.

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