Robert Edsel's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Harry Ettlinger’

The Field Report: Week of July 4, 2014

January 14th, 2014 | 9:00 am

1.) We found the Raphael! On a mint coin that it is. The new series from the Mint of Poland called “Missing Works of Art” deals with famous paintings and other art works that went missing during World War II. (

2.) British Library returns painted Renaissance book panel (The Art Newspaper)

3.) This exhibition currently at the UNESCO office in The Hague shows the intense impact of armed conflict on societies and their cultural heritage (UNESCO)

4.) Roll out!  Trajan’s Column as you’ve never seen it before (Italy Magazine)

5.) The Legal Evolution and the Private Market: How countries are successfully using the law to get looted cultural treasures back (ABA Journal)

6.) Candid, raw and moving: What it means to be an American to these people. (The New York Times)

*…and in case you missed it:

The real Monuments Man: Amazing story of the Jewish teenager who fled Nazi Germany but returned six years later as one of the art-hunters made famous by George Clooney film (Daily Mail)

Leave Comments »

The Field Report: Week of June 27, 2014

January 14th, 2014 | 8:17 am

1.) Sold! Will that be cash, check or bitcoin? San Francisco-based artist Tom Loughlin plans to use his own artwork to bid on bitcoins in anticipated  government auction. (ArtNews)

2.) Just everyday people serving as active guardians and curators of Egypt’s tangible cultural heritage (MyEygpt)

3.) No small potatoes: Claude Monet water lilies piece sells at auction for £32m! (The Guardian)

4.) “I’m looking for a girl with a pearl earring…” The Mauritshuis, the true home of the Vermeer masterpiece, reopens this Friday after $22m renovation. (The Art Newspaper)

5.) Uncovering 3D effects and cobwebs, the conservation treatment surrounding the Ghent Altarpiece is intricate to say the least! (Art Daily)

6.) It turns out your brain might actually be wired to enjoy art. (Huffington Post)

*…and in case you missed it!

To Harry Ettlinger, there is an important lesson to be learned from the work of The Monuments Men: “We have to respect each others’ cultures.”

The Foundation joined in the fun of Museum Cake Day by sharing this drawing by Monuments Man Deane Keller for his son Dino’s birthday. Check out the #MusCake hashtag on Twitter to see how different museums celebrated.

And we have to share this Instagram photo that put a smile on our face!


Leave Comments »

THE FIELD REPORT: Week of June 6, 2014

January 12th, 2014 | 12:36 pm

Here are a few of our favorite articles from this past week:

1.) Some of the most famous pictures from D-Day were almost destroyed before they ever left the dark room (

2.) You might want to consider this the next time your boss tells you he made you a homemade gift (The Guardian).

3.) These shots from outer space will give you a whole new view of art looting (National Geographic).

4.) Headed Home! A return 75 years in the making demonstrates a “strong moral compass” for those involved with restitution (The Sydney Morning Herald)

5.) The more things change; the more they stay the same. The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Rome is remembered in these 10 incredible before and after shots (Corriere della Sera Roma).

6.) The art Hitler hated brings in the masses (The Washington Post).

*And a few things you may have missed!

7.) Real-life Monuments Man slated to get The Congressional Gold Medal (The Jersey Journal)

8.) Speaker of the House John Boehner puts pen to paper signing The Monuments Men Recognition Act (Official Flickr for the Speaker of the House)

9.) Its Missone Italia for Robert Edsel as he makes his way through Italy promoting his book Saving Italy (Repubblica TV)

10.) Happy Birthday to The Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art. Today marks seven years since we were founded! Take a look back a some of our proudest moments!

Leave Comments »


February 18th, 2011 | 2:42 pm

Please listen in tomorrow to Travel with Rick Steves for a revealing interview with Monuments Man Harry Ettlinger and me about a unique, one of a kind trip we have designed in conjunction with The National World War II Museum.  This September we will be taking a small group, limited to just 35 people, on a unique experience: In The Footsteps of the Monuments Men.

I will be leading this 10 day trip during which we will visit the key locations in which the Monuments Men worked including some of the most dramatic moments of their wartime duty:  discovery of Nazi treasure troves at the Castle of Neuschwanstein and in the Alt Aussee salt mine. We will also visit the site of Hitler’s home in Berchtesgaden and the Eagle’s Nest where many of the albums of photographs of works of art stolen by the Nazis were located.

Founder and President of the Monuments Men Foundation Robert M. Edsel and Monuments Man Harry Ettlinger

This is our third appearance on Travel with Rick Steves, Rick and his outstanding producer, Tim Tattan do a great job with these programs. They were very excited about this show in particular because of the news of our trip and Harry’s participation.  For more details on the trip please click on this link:

The National World War II Museum is the leading tour provider of trips to key World War II sites and has years of experience organizing such trips all the result of its co-founder and leading World War II historian, Stephen Ambrose.  We are so very excited to be working with their team of experts and historians in making this an experience everyone will forever cherish.



February 18th, 2011 | 9:57 am

Robert Edsel is talking about the “Monuments Men” on “Travel With Rick Steves” radio program this weekend. He is chatting with an original “Monuments Men”, Harry Ettlinger,  a German-born Jew whose family escaped to America and now helps repatriate the treasures of Europe from caves and castles where plunder was stashed.

To find out what station airs “Travel with Rick Steves”, click the link

If you missed the broadcast of this episode, you can still listen to the program through Rick Steves’ Program Archive: The program will be available on February 20th.

About the Program

“Travel with Rick Steves” is a fun, hour-long, practical talk show with guest experts and questions from travelers. This weekly program is a lively conversation between travelers and the experts as we learn to

If you want to learn more about “Travel With Rick Steves” radio program, click here:



January 28th, 2010 | 9:46 am


Monuments Men Bernard Taper and Harry Ettlinger

My dad used to say, “the most important thing about birthdays is to keep having them!”.  A little Yogi Berra I admit, but like many things he told me, the wisdom became more apparent with time.

Part of his message was to slow down and celebrate them; each is precious. So today we pause for a moment to acknowledge the birthdays of two of our heroes, Monuments Men Bernard Taper and Harry Ettlinger.  I’ve spent a lot of time with both of these men and they are wonderful human beings over and above their many life accomplishments.

Strangely enough, I introduced Harry and Bernie to each other on June 5th, 2007, the day before our Senate Ceremony to honor all of the men and women of 13 nations who served in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section.  They were like two bugs in a rug from the outset swapping stories, sharing experiences.  It didn’t take long to make a significant connection:  both had interrogated Hitler’s good friend and personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffman, interestingly almost a year apart.

I walked behind them through the halls of the Senate as we headed to an appointment to meet Senator Hillary Clinton, leaning over their shoulders ease dropping on their conversation.  I always marvel at how similar older people are to young kids in the most endearing of ways. Watching the two of them get to know each other reminded me of two boys at a playground immediately engaged in conversation as if they had known each other all their lives, void of pretense and ego, just happy to have a friend.  I always cherish their first meeting among my many memories.

So here’s to our friends, Harry Ettlinger and Bernard Taper:  may you both remain in good health and be with us for many more such happy occasions!



September 4th, 2009 | 11:43 am


I am Harry Ettlinger, the youngest and one of the very, very few WWII Monuments Men still alive.

As we go through life, we keep learning and bring to our minds a great variety of experiences.  Recently I saw a film about the destruction of Buddhist figures by the Taliban in Afghanistan.  It ended with a showing of a banner over the entrance of the Art Museum in the Capital of that country.  Its message: “No nation can exist without culture and history.”

I realize today that as Monuments Men, we started the work to restore the culture taken away by Nazis from hundreds of millions of human beings. Today, we must distribute that important part of history to the billions of men and women in this world.


In a tiny way, I, having been given the privilege of working as a Monuments Man, feel now compelled to aid in spreading the message, so eloquently stated on that banner.

You can start by reading Robert Edsel’s new book The Monuments Men.

1 Comment »


September 2nd, 2009 | 4:39 pm


Tomorrow begins the realization of more than 7 years of work:  publication of my new book entitled The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. This is the narrative telling of these heroes’ stories through the experiences of just 8 men and 1 woman–the unlikeliest of spies–who are in a race with time to save the greatest cultural treasures from Nazi fanatics.  The book can be ordered online and will be in bookstores nationwide.  It is being published in more than 16 languages, and will also be available as an audio book.  I hope you will read the amazing stories of the men and women which I have told using their letters home to loved ones written during combat.

Harry Ettlinger speaking at the Hope for Humanities Dinner in Dallas, November 2008. (Photo Courtesy of Robert M. Edsel Collection.)

Harry Ettlinger speaking at the Hope for Humanities Dinner in Dallas, November 2008. (Photo Courtesy of Robert M. Edsel Collection.)

This Friday we will have the first of many Guest Blogs…appropriately, the first guest blogger will be Monuments Man Harry Ettlinger.  Harry figures prominently in The Monuments Men.  He provides a fresh insight into these events and speaks eloquently as to why this part of history is so vitally important.

Please check it out this Friday!