The Monuments Men

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William C. Bryant ( ? - ? )

William C. Bryant served as an MFAA Officer for U.S. Ninth Army. Together with Monuments Men Capt. Walter Huchthausen and Lt. Martin Rogin, Bryant was responsible for the area surrounding Aachen, Germany.

One of Bryant’s most notable investigations involved Schloss Rimburg, a thirteenth-century medieval stone castle in Rimburg, near the Dutch border with Germany. Encircled by a moat, the castle was a valuable defensive position for the German Army, who used it as a stronghold to delay the Allied advance. Following heavy fighting, the castle suffered severe damage. The first Monuments Men to inspect the castle were Lt. Cdr. George L. Stout and Capt. James B. Larwood, who arrived in mid-October 1944. Inside, the pair discovered a large assortment of paintings, jewelry, sculptures, and other treasured objects, which they relocated to safety in the gate house.

A week later, a group of enlisted men discovered a secret compartment behind a bookcase, the hiding place for valuable objects including a diamond and pearl tiara, silver dishes and utensils, carved ivory, and a large collection of stamps and coins. Stout, who by this time had left the area, ordered Bryant to devise a plan to better safeguard the treasures. Bryant created a detailed inventory of the castle’s contents before gathering every valuable object, including hundreds of books, manuscripts, and documents scattered throughout the castle, in waterproof rooms. Some of these objects joined the collection in the gate house, which Bryant placed under around-the-clock guard. After leaving the castle in the care of the town Burgermeister, Bryant deposited the jewel-encrusted tiara, jewelry, and the silver in a bank vault in Aachen.

Bryant remained involved with the monuments operation until at least February 1945.

The Foundation is very interested in learning more about William Bryant’s life, in particular his military service as a Monuments Man. If you have any information, please contact abottinelli@monumentsmenfoundation.org.