A lingering mystery from the second world war is where are the artworks missing as a result of the WWII art thefts?
One of my earliest memories is from when I was about five years old, shuffling through a small stack of black and white postcards my parents had collected of Hitler’s compound and bunker, and some of the concentration camps.
I was fascinated because my parents had told me what I could understand about the second world war, most likely fostering my ongoing fascination with war, history and genealogy.
I was born in July of 1959, just fourteen years after the end of WWII, and the war was still very fresh in everyone’s mind – including my parents’. Mom had travelled to Germany in 1958 to marry my Dad, who was posted with the Canadian military, and live with him in a tiny apartment in Baden Soellingen – where I was born just a year later. My Dad was quite an amateur photographer and they spent most of their free time travelling around Europe, including visiting the most memorable and disturbing landmarks of Hitler’s regime up to and including the second world war.
The stories my Mom and Dad told of their landlords and others they got to know while living on the German economy painted a picture of lovely, warm, welcoming people, as described in a post on my personal blog, Feathering the Empty Nest, “Did my birth break a curse?” There was no way I could reconcile these stories with the ones I was hearing about the Hitler regime (the military and politicians) of the time. How could there be such a dichotomy?
Among the numerous unspeakable acts against the Jews was the systematic theft of valuables including cash, jewelry, and works of art. Alfred Rosenberg managed the thefts and documented the entire endeavor in his diary.
This morning I read an article in Prologue: Pieces of History on the National Archives site called “Nazi Art Looter’s Diary, Long Missing, Found and Online for the First Time” about the availability online of this German language diary, which was recovered recently and moved to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
I only hope that Mark’s and my interest in the events of WWII has made enough of an impact on our kids that they will do their part to ensure the tragic consequences of the madness of one man and his regime will never be forgotten in their generation and that of their children to come.
Hilary, “Nazi Art Looter’s Diary, Long Missing, Found and Online for the First Time,” National Archives, http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/.