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New York Times

Robert Edsel, as told to Joan Raymond

Several years ago, I started a foundation called Monuments Men. It’s dedicated to some unknown heroes who made a huge difference in World War II. These are the museum directors, curators, librarians, architects and others who risked their lives to save art that was being destroyed or confiscated by the Nazis.

Art is more than a painting. It includes documents, churches and cathedrals, museums, books — things that we all take for granted. These men and women were so very brave.

I never really thought about how much I was traveling to do this work. But it came home to me when I heard my name on the airport loudspeaker recently.

After I identified myself, I was escorted to my seat. I was then greeted by an airline official. I didn’t know what was going on.

The official told me that since I flew so much, the airline just wanted to welcome me to what seems like my home. So I guess my home really is seat 3B.

Oftentimes, I travel to meet a person of good will who has a work of art or a document that was taken by the Nazis.

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