Segment 8


Ettlinger was working in a vein of mined salt deposits. In Heilbronn, they brought the salt to the surface, heated it up, melted the stone and salt over 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and wiped off the salt. It would be rotated into a vat and would re-crystallize.Ettlinger found it interesting that in order to provide the fuel for the furnaces they had built coke ovens. They had an excess of coke and had another factory on the premises that provided glass. Four months after the end of the war, in an area where cities were bombed and destroyed, they had that glass factory going again, for making glass bottles for Coca-Cola.There were 5 or 6 of the long chambers [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: in the salt mines] but above, higher up in the mine, were smaller chambers. They were about 12 feet high and each chamber was about 30 feet wide and 100 feet long. They were accessible through a corridor and each chamber held pieces of the art.One of the chambers was very interesting to Ettlinger. He came down a corridor and noticed an opening that was filled with brick rather than a regular door and he asked the miners to break in. Behind the brick was a big table with glass jars which had a clear liquid with yellow at the bottom of them. The guys were going wild; it was nitroglycerin. It had started to turn yellow because the liquid had started to separate; if they had not opened it, it would have detonated and exploded the whole mine. They gingerly took it out and detonated it in a field nearby.It is ironic to Ettlinger that here he was a young Jewish American private who ended up being in charge of Underground Operations, when six months before thousands of Hungarian Jews had just lost their lives. He felt he was doing something a human being should be doing; according to Ettlinger, good things. He describes the Roberts Commission that was implemented in 1943 regarding the destruction of European Cultural treasures.


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