Art theft during World War II

This weekend, George Clooney’s film The Monuments Men is out.  The film tells the story of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Program, established during WWII. The program was served by an international group of people, including  soldiers, art historians, museum curators, architects, and artists, working together to find and protect art stolen by Nazi Germany. Following the war, the program worked to return property to its original owners. From 1945-1949, Johannes Felbermeyer served as the chief photographer at the Central Collection Point in Munich and documented the process of repatriation of works of art. A collection of some of his images during this period is available from the Getty can be viewed here.

To learn more about this part of our cultural history, check out the following resources available in our collection:

Men and monuments

Defending national treasures: French art and heritage under Vichy

The spoils of war: World War II and its aftermath: the loss, reappearance, and recovery of cultural property

The last days of World War II (volume 2- The spoils of war)

The Faustian bargain: the art world in Nazi Germany

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