Segment 6

Annotation

He remembers Captain [Annotator’s Note: James or ‘Jim’] Rorimer took him to Berchtesgaden and he went to the Eagles Nest. Rorimer also took him to Neuschwanstein, a castle where the Germans had shipped and stored treasures of the Rothschild family. That was the first time he visited a collection of stolen works of art. Ettlinger did not know how to drive, so the Captain drove and he sat in the passenger seat.Their office was moved from Munich to Heidelberg where it is still in existence today. He was there for about four weeks. He looked through papers only. Captain Rorimer made arrangements to get him assigned to a permanent outfit. The whole time he had no assignment; he belonged to no organization except the US Army. Rorimer's outfit would assign police, mayors, or whatever the city or a municipality needed to govern themselves. The groups were established to find Germans to take over the government of a town after the war.In the latter part of July and August [Annotator’s Note: 1945] he spent time at the headquarters of the military government and then went to the mines in Heilbronn and Crottendorf where 40,000 cases of art were stored. They had to establish three collection points. One was in the former headquarters of the Nazi party in Munich, one in Wiesbaden and one in Offenbach where they collected thousands of paintings. The one in Munich became the biggest collection of art ever put in one place. In lieu of taking out all the art, they decided to leave them there and they would send in Monuments Men in to investigate. Ettlinger was assigned to investigate the stolen pieces of art in stored salt mines.Ettlinger and Lieutenant Fort had the help of three German professionals: an art historian, a businessman, and a man that was part of the German group formed to steal art. This last guy spent the war in Paris but was there to tell them information about the pieces. Ettlinger was in charge of the underground operations. There were underground factories and with the help of two miners, they did the work of finding certain cases and investigating them. By the time they were finished they found out that 3% of the collections underground, about 900 pieces, were illegally obtained.

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