The “Monuments Men”
were a group of 345 or so men and women from thirteen
nations who comprised the Monuments, Fine Arts, and
Archives section during World War II. Many were museum
directors, curators, art historians, and educators.
Together they worked to protect monuments and other
cultural treasures from the destruction of World War II.
In the last year of the war they tracked, located, and
ultimately returned more than 5 million artistic and
cultural items stolen by Hitler and the Nazis. Their
role in preserving cultural treasures was without
The Monuments Men remained in Europe for up to six years
after the conclusion of fighting to oversee the
complicated restitution of stolen works of art. During
that time they played instrumental roles in rebuilding
cultural life in the devastated countries of Europe by
organizing temporary art exhibitions and music concerts.
Art and culture mattered greatly then – and today – to
the Monuments Men.
Upon returning home, many of the Monuments Men and women
had extraordinarily prominent roles in building some of
the greatest cultural and educational institutions in
the United States. They became directors and curators of
world renowned museums such as the Met, the MOMA, the
National Gallery of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art,
the Toledo Museum of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of
Art and many others. Other revered institutions, such as
the New York City Ballet, the National Endowment for the
Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts,
were the tangible results of ideas of the Monuments Men.
This is my ongoing research on
these individuals - if you have any additional
information to share - please contact me , Nancy
Also see my research on
The Committee on the Protection of Cultural Treasures in War
Areas of the ACLS ( American Committee of Learned
More can be
found on these lists on the
Rescuing DaVinci web page.