Segment 7


The rest of it [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: of art found underground by Ettlinger], the 97%, were returned to their German owners. Americans established the philosophy that they would not take the spoils of war, for the first time in history; instead they would return the treasures to the rightful owner. That was something Americans could be proud of. He can remember sitting on Lieutenant Fort's desk with a jar of diamonds and nobody touched the jar; no one took it. He did everything he could to live by that code.Ettlinger mentions that the Nazis [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: when he was growing up in Germany in the 1930s] were already in the process of building the mines and underground factories. One of them was to be a factory for making jet engines. It was a great Frenchman, Rousefalant [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: spelling unknown], who told Captain Rormier about this. The Germans saw to it that Charles Lindbergh was sent from the Pacific to Heilbronn to witness the first assembly of a jet engine.In January 1946, Lindbergh came to Heilbronn and Ettlinger spoke to him. Lindbergh was a supporter of the Germans and after speaking with Ettlinger and hearing his family's plight while in Germany, Lindbergh supposedly changed his mind about the Germans. That was a very memorable moment for Ettlinger.The people who made the parts for the jet engines were Hungarian Jews selected in Auschwitz; separated from those that were murdered. There was a shipment of 12,000 Hungarian Jews in May and June of 1944. 225,000 Jews were shipped to Auschwitz every other day and some were selected to live and the rest were murdered. Those that were relatively young were slave laborers forced to make parts for engines. Ettlinger found out about this in the late 1990's from one of the few survivors. The survivor became a concert violinist and composer in Hollywood. Most of the laborers died shortly before the Allies entered Heilbronn because they were sent on a five day train ride and froze to death.The first job that Ettlinger had at Heilbronn [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: in the mines] was to find stained glass windows from cathedrals and bring them up to the top with the help of the two miners. There were at least 78 cases that needed to be brought to the top to be put on trucks and shipped to Strasbourg. Those were the first stolen works of art returned to their owners. The French made a big event of the windows being returned to their world famous cathedral. After that, it came down to compiling information, and eventually they shipped over 900 items including the 78 cases of stolen art in over 5 shipments. The last one went to the Louvre Museum. Some went to Wiesbaden and to Munich; the other two collection points. Ettlinger's job was to make sure the boxes went up the mines.The mines were not what Ettlinger and most Americans would consider mines. The chambers were not small; they were 60 feet wide, 40 feet high and mile long. Then there would be another chamber next to it with the same dimensions.


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