Stella Pauline Tyacke Jacka (1904-1990)
Stella Pauline Tyacke Jacka was born in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England on May 14, 1904. She completed a Bachelor’s degree from an unknown institution before working as a librarian at public libraries in Muswell Hill, a suburb of north London. Prior to the start of World War II, she was elected a Fellow of the Library Association.
Jacka served with the MFAA Branch of the Control Commission for Germany at Bünde in Westphalia, Germany. There, she succeeded Monuments Woman Maj. Anne Olivier Popham as Assistant Director under the office’s Head of Section, Monuments Man Sqdr. Ldr. E. Christopher Norris. In addition to managing the daily concerns of the bustling office, Jacka also helped coordinate the work of the British Monuments Men in the field. She organized transportation, transcribed memos, and kept in close contact with other offices.
During the summer of 1948, Jacka was involved in the temporary loan of six pieces of “The Dionysian Treasure” from the Wiesbaden Central Collecting Point to the town of Enger, Germany. The treasure included, among other priceless Romanesque artifacts, a baptismal bowl, processional cross, and an ornamented pouch. Although preserved in Enger from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries, part of the collection was ultimately moved to Berlin in 1888. Working with their American counterparts in Wiesbaden, Jacka and her fellow British Monuments Men and Women orchestrated the symbolic return of the treasure to Enger in honor of the town’s 1,000th anniversary. At the conclusion of the festivities in late July 1948, Jacka personally escorted the objects back to Wiesbaden. Today, The Dionysian Treasure is on display at the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin (Museum of Decorative Arts), part of the Berlin State Museums.
Jacka remained involved in restitution efforts until at least August 1948. Following her return to England, she resumed her work as a librarian. She died in Richmond upon Thames, England in August 1990.
The Monuments Men Foundation is very interested in learning more about Stella Jacka’s life, as well as her work with the MFAA. If you have any information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.