The Monuments Men

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Andre Kormendi ( 1906-1971 )

Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1905, Andre Kormendi immigrated to the United States in 1937 after studying at the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts. A talented artist, he exhibited at the Society of Independent Artists (1937), The Morgan Gallery, New York (1938), and The Art Institute of Chicago (1938).

Kormendi enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1942 as a civilian aerial photographer. While working as an Information and Reports Officer with the Office of Military Government, U.S. Zone, he was offered the position of MFAA Officer for Northern Bavaria in 1946. He arrived in Nuremberg in September 1946 and was appointed head of the Nuremberg office in December of the same year. Kormendi served in this position until 1948.

In his work to protect and repair the historic monuments of Northern Bavaria, Kormendi was well-matched. The cultural centers of Nuremberg and Wurzburg were almost completely destroyed while Bayreuth was severely battered. Also within Kormendi’s jurisdiction were the 278 repositories used as safe havens for an array of collections including the German National Museums, the Berlin State Library, the State Archives of both Bamberg and Prussia, and the Gutenberg Museum.

Kormendi was involved in the restitution of the Imperial Crown Jewels from Nuremberg to Vienna in January 1946, the Krakow Altarpiece to Poland in May 1946, and the Neptune Fountain to Russia in October 1947. After the dissolution of the North Bavarian office of the MFAA in December 1948, Kormendi returned to New York.

He died in Falls Church, VA in August 1971.