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Discoveries & Returns

During World War II, Hitler and the Nazis stole millions of paintings, sculpture, documents, books, musical manuscripts, and other cultural items that deserve to be returned to their rightful owners - museums, governments, institutions and individuals.

The work of the Monuments Men Foundation has resulted in the restitution of priceless paintings and cultural objects to governments, museums, universities and individuals in the United States, Germany, Italy, and Poland. Increasingly these objects are surfacing, sometimes in the possession of those who fought in the war (or a relative) and may have taken them as a souvenir without realizing their importance. Over the next ten years, as that generation passes, everything in their possession will change hands and many of the missing objects will appear. Frequently those in possession of such items aren’t aware that it is illegal to sell cultural objects taken during war.

By leveraging its understanding of the laws concerning cultural property and furthering relationships with other leading experts in this arena, the Foundation is in a unique position to raise public awareness about the volume of missing items and their importance. Broad enlistment of the public’s help is the essential next step in this important process.

“No age lives entirely alone; every civilization is formed not merely by its own achievements but by what it has inherited from the past. If these things are destroyed, we have lost a part of our past, and we shall be the poorer for it.” Monuments Officer Maj. Ronald Balfour, from remarks he had hoped to deliver to his troops prior to being killed in action in March 1945

  How You Can Help  

The only way we can begin to return the missing works of art and documents to their rightful owners is with your help.

If you have information about a work of art or other cultural item taken during World War II, please call our toll-free tip line 1-866-WWII-ART [1-866-994-4278] or write to WWIIart @ monumentsmenfoundation . org

© Monuments Men Foundation 2020