National Archives gets two more albums on Nazi looting

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The U.S. National Archives recovered two additional albums cataloging Nazi looting.

The Monuments Men Foundation, which tracks undiscovered cultural artifacts stolen by the Nazis, handed the two albums to senior National Archives staff members at a ceremony Tuesday in Dallas.

"It is exciting to know that original documents are shedding light on this important aspect of World War II," David Ferriero, the national archivist, said in thanking Robert Edsel, the president of the foundation. "Documents such as these may play a role in helping victims recover their treasures."

Previously recovered albums compiled by the looters have been used to track stolen items and return them to their rightful owners.

The Monuments Men Foundation honors the original 345 or so men and women from 13 countries who protected cultural treasures during World War II, and tracked and returned to their owners more than 5 million items in the war’s aftermath. It continues to track such items, in part through its outreach to families of soldiers who brought home souvenirs.

“The foundation often receives calls from veterans and their heirs who don’t know the importance of items they may have picked up during their service, or aren’t aware that anyone is looking for the items,” Edsel said.

It is not known precisely how many albums cataloging the looting were made, but the Archives has more than 40 in its possession, including 39 recovered by the original Monuments Men and four recovered in recent years by the foundation.

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