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Welcome Remarks for Göring’s Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World

Greetings from the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to today’s virtual author lecture with Jonathan Petropoulos, author of Göring’s Man in Paris.

Before we begin, though, I’d like to tell you about two upcoming programs you can view on our YouTube channel.

On Tuesday, April 13, at 6 p.m., Lisa Napoli, author of Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR, will lead a discussion of the early years of National Public Radio with three of the trailblazing women of the title: Susan Stamberg, Linda Wertheimer, and Nina Totenberg.

And on Thursday, April 15, at 11 a.m., our Young Learners Program brings us a conversation with Walt Whitman, the latest presentation in “The National Archives Comes Alive.” Best known as a poet, Whitman also spent years in federal government employ during and after the Civil War. A question-and-answer session with Walt Whitman, portrayed by scholar and actor Darrel Blaine, will follow the presentation.

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As German troops marched across Europe during World War II, the Nazis not only annexed more land for the Reich but also systematically stole thousands of artworks from individuals and cultural institutions. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring hungrily acquired a large personal collection for his own aggrandizement.

Efforts to identify, track down, and return stolen artworks continued for decades after the war, and the search often led to the U.S. National Archives. Our records have been used to determine the extent of Nazi looting of gold, to identify dormant bank accounts, and to investigate confiscated works of art attempt to recover them.

Today’s guest author brings us the story of Göring’s agent in Paris: Bruno Lohse, who helped supervise the systematic theft and distribution of more than 30,000 artworks, mainly from French Jews, and helped to build Göring’s massive private collection.

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Jonathan Petropoulos is the John V. Croul Professor of European History at Claremont McKenna College in California. He began working on the subject of Nazi art looting and restitution in 1983, and his books include Art as Politics in the Third Reich, The Faustian Bargain, Royals and the Reich, and Artists Under Hitler.

 From 1998 to 2000, he served as Research Director for Art and Cultural Property on the Presidential Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States, where he helped draft the report, Restitution and Plunder: The U.S. and Holocaust Victims’ Assets. Petropoulos has served as an expert witness in a number of cases where Holocaust victims have tried to recover lost artworks.

 Now let’s hear from Jonathan Petropoulos. Thank you for joining us today.