Segment 11

Annotation

The Monuments Men group totaled about 60 men when Ettlinger was a member. They continued to be in existence even after the Army disbanded; [annotator's note: Ettlinger is referring to the mass discharge of World War II veterans following the cessation of hostilities] up until 1951 and during that time they had about 350 men and women. About 225 were American and the rest were representatives from other countries to help return the items. About 5 million items were returned. One of the few individuals still alive is a man who was in charge of returning archives and documents, including 800 torahs beside the 1,100 that were found in Czechoslovakia, and most of the 800 ended up in Israel. He ended up spending his life as an archivist in the U.S Army. Of those 350 men and women there are only about nine people living, Ettlinger is the youngest of them.The first Monuments Man did not have a home; they did their job without a real organization.In his interview with Heinrich Hoffman, he did not provide them any useful information.Other Monuments Men used the information to help them in their research to find items.The war changed Ettlinger in a way that would change anyone who served in World War II. He led a different life than most kids did because he knew his family was poor. They lived on money from his mother's sister, who immigrated to Switzerland. It led him to believe that any money he earned was not for his pocket but for his family's pocket. That idea is lost today. He already learned what it meant to take on responsibility as an adult in financing his existence. He went to war and learned about health; that is a learning curve that changes one from being a kid to an adult.Ettlinger states that it was a big war and one that should have taught them, as President Lincoln said, "we are all equal under God."

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