The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men were a group of approximately 345 men and women from fourteen nations who served in the newly created Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Section during World War II. Many were accomplished museum directors, curators, art historians, archivists, architects, educators, and artists. They all shared a common goal: to save cultural treasures from the destructiveness of war, and theft by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

About a dozen Monuments Men braved the front lines to track, locate, and recover looted objects. Their work was dangerous: two Monuments Men were killed in combat while protecting works of art. A contingent of several hundred Monuments Men and Women remained in Germany, Austria, Italy, and Japan for years after the conclusion of hostilities to coordinate the return of stolen works of art and other cultural objects to the countries from which they had been stolen. They also organized temporary art exhibitions and music concerts that proved instrumental in jump-starting cultural life in the devastated countries of Europe, and in Japan. By the time the last Monuments Man left Europe in 1951, the Monuments Men had overseen the return of some five million cultural objects, some four million of which had been stolen.

Upon returning home, many of the Monuments Men and Women resumed their leadership positions at some of the most prominent cultural and educational institutions in the United States, England, and other western Allied nations. They would, in time, advance even further, becoming directors and curators of world renowned museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, National Gallery of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Toledo Museum of Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and the Tate Gallery. One Monuments Man co-founded the New York City Ballet. Others contributed to the creation of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Even the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict is predicated on the achievements of the Monuments Men during and after the war.

The following roster of names is a compilation of personnel lists created by Monuments Woman Capt. Edith A. Standen during her service in post-war Germany, and the official Report of the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas (the Roberts Commission) submitted to President Harry S. Truman in 1946. The roster includes the names of numerous foreign liaison officers, who represented their home countries during post-war restitution operations. Except in clear cases of documentable error, the Foundation has made no deletions to these two original source lists. The Foundation has, in a only a few instances, added names of individuals whose military service clearly evidenced their participation in the MFAA but, for various reasons, were overlooked when these two original source lists were compiled.

The Foundation staff is constantly reviewing its records, and those it periodically receives from interested parties, to further verify and update this roster and the information contained therein. Anyone with information about someone on this roster, or someone you believe should be included, should forward all relevant information and photographs to