April 4, 2012
DALLAS—Among the items U.S. soldiers seized from Adolf Hitler's Bavarian Alps hideaway in the closing days of World War II were albums meticulously documenting an often forgotten Nazi crime -- the massive pillaging of artwork and other cultural items as German troops marched through Europe.
Two of those albums -- one filled with photographs of works of art, the other with snapshots of furniture -- were donated Tuesday to the U.S. National Archives, which now has custody of 43 albums in a set of what historians believe could be as high as 100.
Robert M. Edsel, founder and president of the Dallas-based Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, which announced the discovery of the two new albums at a news conference, called them "key pieces of evidence taken from a crime scene that were prized possessions of Adolf Hitler."
Relatives of the two soldiers who took the albums contacted the foundation, which has previously donated two other albums in the series to the National Archives. They had read stories in the media about foundation's mission, which includes continuing the work of the Monuments Men, who helped Allied forces protect cultural treasures during World War II and helped return stolen items after the war....