Most Wanted: Documents  

The Most Wanted: Documents list provides photos of the albums created by the Nazi to document their looting operation. These albums are as valuable as any works of art. These historic documents, which are considered cultural property and as are result, may not be sold, played a major role in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg Trials.

If you know anything about the whereabouts of these documents, please contact us.

• Dimensions: 13.5 x 11.75 inches; 3 inches thick; Approximately 8 pounds

• Textured, brown leather covers with title pages reading: “Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg” followed by “Foto-Mappe Nr.” and the album number in Arabic numerals. The lettering is in a distinct calligraphic script.

• An inventory list may be on the inside front cover in a pocket

• Each page of the album contains: A photograph of one stolen item, a letter representing the family from which the item was stolen, and an inventory number

• Pages may be separated by tissue paper with a spider web-like pattern

• As many as 57 albums still missing

• Likely removed from Berchtesgaden in May 1945

These albums were created by the Third Reich’s Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) staff. This unit was assigned the responsibility for the confiscation of “ownerless” Jewish works of art. As the ERR staff looted the French collections, they created photograph albums cataloguing items of which Hitler and his curators could choose for the Führer’s Art Museum in Linz, Austria. Nearly 100 such volumes were created.

In May 1945, thirty-nine original ERR albums were discovered at Neuschwanstein by the Monuments Men. They had been stored there by the Germans along with records that documented their confiscations and thousands of looted items. These albums were subsequently taken to the Munich Central Collecting Point where they were used by the Monuments Men to assist in the restitution process. In late 1945, these albums were used as evidence at the Nuremberg trials to document the massive Nazi art looting operations.

Until recently it was believed that the remainingERRalbums had been destroyed during the latter days of World War II. Since 2007, The Monuments Men Foundation has recovered four more: ERR Albums 6, 7, 8 and 15. These were taken as souvenirs from the Berghof at Berchtesgaden by members of the 501st Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division and the 989th Field Artillery Battalion.

Today, all 43 ERR photo albums are property of the United States National Archives.

Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg Photo Albums

These albums are the only documents that show which works of art were intended for Hitler’s musem at Linz.

• Dimensions: 13.6 in x 15 in; 3 in thick
 Weight: 12.5 pounds

• Each album contains approximately 50 photos of artworks·Underneath every photo, handwritten in white or blue ink, is the name of the title, artist, measurements and periodically the date

• Pages are 30 x 36 cm grey card paper

• Cream canvas covers bound in black, goat leather; the words “GEMÄLDE-GALERIE LINZ” and an album number in Roman numerals were stamped on the binding with gold ink.

• 11 albums are still missing

• Likely removed from Berchtesgaden in May 1945

There were originally 31 known albums, but only 19 were said to have survived the war (I-VIII, XX-XXVIII, and XXX-XXXI). Of those albums, eighteen were found in May 1945 at Berchtesgaden in the study of the “Berghof,” Hitler’s vacation home. The last one (album XX, the only sculpture album) was found at the home of Hitler’s secretary, Martin Bormann.

After the war, the 19 albums were sent to the Central Collecting Point in Munich, where they were examined by Monuments Man S. Lane Faison, Jr. who used them as a source for his ALIU Report on Linz.

Today, all 19 albums are at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin; 16 are on display.

Album XIII, orginally taken as a souvenir from Hitler’s home in Berchtesgaden, was recovered by The Monuments Men Foundation in 2009.

Albums IX-XII; XIV-XIX; and XXIX are still missing.

Gemälde-Galerie Linz Photo Albums

© Monuments Men Foundation 2019