Segment 9

Annotation

Hundreds of thousands of men lost their lives, paying the ultimate sacrifice. Ettlinger admits the Allies did not do a good job preserving life. In addition to the physical destruction, the Germans destroyed the culture of the people they conquered, especially the Eastern European cultures. There was an organization, ERR, Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, that was the cultural ministry of Germany. They came along and stole those items they considered to be worthwhile and shipped them to Germany. They were meant for Hitler's collection; he wanted to convert his city of Linz [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: Austria] to the art capital of the world. That is what the Monuments Men ended up doing; finding the stolen works of art and returning them under the policies of the Roberts Commission.In Austria, the biggest find was in Altaussee where they found 4,500 paintings. Ettlinger found them and then shipped them to the collection point in Munich. In Altaussee they took a couple hundred truck-fullÂ’s of paintings that were found.His most memorable find was in the Heilbronn mine. They had a painting that was painted by an artist 400 years ago. It was sitting in a church in the German town of Stubach. Captain Rormier was particularly interested in that find. He offered to buy the piece for 2 million dollars and they turned him down. There was another masterpiece painting from the city of Karlsruhe. Their masterpiece was a self portrait of Rembrandt and it has become "the story"; it was advertised all over the world. The newspapers thought it was illegally obtained, but Ettlinger knew it was a present of the last duchess of the Province of Baden at the end of her reign in World War I. She donated it to the art museum three blocks away from her palace. It turned out that Ettlinger lived near there but he never saw it because Jews were not allowed to.At this point in the interview Ettlinger discusses his grandfather's collection again. Two years ago Ettlinger found a print that was made from an artist in the 1920's of that painting of Rembrandt and he now has the print in his home. Ettlinger's grandfather took his collection with him when he moved to Baden Baden and put it into a warehouse for safe storage. In October of 1945, he sent Ettlinger a letter that said if he got the opportunity to go to Baden Baden to see if his collection was in a particular warehouse.

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