On January 22, the U.S. State Department hosted a ceremony marking the return of two irreplaceable documents, one of which was lo- cated by the Monuments Men Foundation. Gemäldegalerie Linz Al- bum XIII was a prized possession of Hitler and documented German 19th century works of art he had accumulated, both through purchase and theft, for the Führermuseum he planned to build in his hometown. The other document is known as the Augsburger Gesch- lechterbuch or “Augsburg Book of Nobles” which belongs to the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.
This great occasion also honored the army veteran who picked up the Gemäldegalerie Linz Album at Berchtesgaden as a souve- nir, Mr. John Pistone. Upon learning about the importance of the Album, he agreed to work through the Monuments Men Foun- dation to ensure its return to Germany. Ambassador J. Christian Ken- nedy, U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, hosted the event and introduced each of the speakers after making poignant remarks about the importance of these two items being returned to Germany. His comments were underscored by Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew. Accepting these items was German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, and Heribert Rech, Minister of the Interior for Baden-Wuerttemberg. Both gentlemen spoke eloquently and candidly about this period of Germany’s history and the commitment Germany has today to doing everything possible to assist those victims of the Nazi era in recovering their stolen belongings. At the same time, they expressed their desire to see items belonging to Germany returned home.