Restitution, Education, Preservation
The Monuments Men Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization created to raise worldwide awareness about the service of the Monuments Men and Women, honor them for their achievements, and complete their unfinished mission of returning missing art to the rightful owners.
The Monuments Men were a group of American and British men and women---museum curators, art historians, librarians, architects, even artists---responsible for preserving the artistic and cultural achievements of western civilization from the destruction of war and theft by the Nazis.
The Foundation created 345 individual biographies of the Monuments Men and Women, detailing their lives, military service, and achievements. In time the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section, known as The Monuments Men, would include volunteers from fourteen nations.
Discoveries & Returns
Despite the success of the Monuments Men, hundreds of thousands of cultural objects remain missing. Many are in the United States. The Foundation continues the work of the Monuments Men by locating and returning these objects to their rightful owners.
The assistance of the general public through tips and other information is vital to the success of our mission. If you have information about a work of art or other cultural item taken during World War II, please contact us.
Join The Hunt
Countries that suffered from the Nazi plunder have created databases of the art still missing. While these databases provide invaluable information, a comprehensive cross-referencing database has never been created.
Our “Join the Hunt” lists are the first of their kind, providing the public with essential information about major works of art and documents missing since the war. The selection process involved extensive searches of international lost art databases focusing on works of art for which there was an image, and which we believe survived the war. It is not a comprehensive list; no list could be.
The Foundation’s extensive collection includes 230 artifacts and 6,850 archival documents, including letters, diaries and nearly 115,000 digital assets.
It has more than 220 hours of video and audio assets including interviews with 16 Monuments Men and Women, their family members, foreign civilians, museum directors and curators, and the Chief Interpreter and Interrogator for the US Prosecution Team at the Nuremberg Trials. The collection also contains over 1,600 books, transcripts, and rare publications, many out of print.
Our library and document database are the go-to source for those wanting to know about the lives of these scholar-soldiers and many who advised them during their wartime service.
As part of its mission, the Foundation promotes the appreciation of art and cultural heritage as an essential part of education. Our staff regularly provides assistance to an ever-increasing number of students and educators who wish to learn more about the Monuments Men and Women and is working on creating more resources to assist a variety of related research.
“Preserving these stories of bravery and sacrifice helps ensure extraordinary men and women who have shaped our present will not be forgotten.” President Barack Obama
Based on the book by Robert Edsel, The Monuments Men movie was written by, directed and starred Academy Award Winner George Clooney, and an award-winning cast.
The TV Show
This exciting series chronicles one of the greatest heists in history and the present-day efforts to locate valuable objects and artwork stolen by the Nazis at the end of World War II and return them to their rightful owners.
The detective work in Hunting Nazi Treasure will take the team across four continents – from European salt mines and castles to the desert sands of North Africa and across the ocean to North and South America in search of some of the hundreds of thousands of paintings, documents, and other cultural objects worth billions of dollars that remain missing.
The Rape of Europa tells the epic story of the systematic theft, deliberate destruction and miraculous survival of Europe's art treasures during the Third Reich and the Second World War.
In a journey through seven countries, the film takes the audience into the violent whirlwind of fanaticism, greed, and warfare that threatened to wipe out the artistic heritage of Europe. For 12 long years, the Nazis looted and destroyed art on a scale unprecedented in history. But young art professionals as well as ordinary heroes fought back with an extraordinary effort to safeguard, rescue and return the millions of lost, hidden and stolen treasures.
The National WWII Museum
In October 2018, the Monuments Men Foundation transferred its archives to The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, our nation’s official WWII Museum. In 2021, the Museum will open its Liberation Pavilion housing the Monuments Men Gallery. All requests to access this material should be sent to Ms. Toni Kiser at toni.kiser @ nationalww2museum.org.
Awards & Recognitions
In 2007, the Monuments Men Foundation was the recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the United States’ highest honor for work in the humanities.
In 2015, United States Congress presented the Monuments Men and Women, of all 14 nations, with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States.
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